By ED HARRIS
Saint Dominic School has received a National Blue Ribbon School Award from the United States Department of Education.
The Catholic school was recognized for being an “exemplary high performing” school. This performance category recognizes schools that are among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
“Everyone is elated that Saint Dominic School has received such a prestigious honor,” said Saint Dominic Principal Patricia O’Neil Tiezzi. “We feel blessed and honored.”
Tiezzi said that Saint Dominic is one of four Catholic schools in New England to receive the honor this year. Three of the schools are located within the Archdiocese of Hartford and part of Saint Dominic’s Catholic school network.
Tiezzi said that one of the reasons that Saint Dominic was selected was because of its high test scores. She said the test scores are in the top ten percent in the nation. She credits the test scores to a culture of academic excellence.
“Our teachers continually strive to be sure every student meets success,” Tiezzi said. “We foster a culture of academic excellence through critical thinking skills, innovative and rigorous curriculum standards, a global perspective, and an emphasis on moral education, community and service.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 269 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels in a press conference earlier this month.
In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,000 of America’s schools.
“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” and the second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.
A total of 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
“The hard work of our teachers, students and parents has paid off,” Tiezzi said. “Saint Dominic School is no longer Southington’s ‘hidden’ treasure.”