By Ed Harris
Saint Dominic School Principal Patricia Tiezzi and Literacy Specialist Noreen Adams recently traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the 30th Anniversary of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Ceremony and receive St. Dominic School’s National Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence.
“My experience was awesome,” said Tiezzi in a release. “We met people from both public schools and private schools from across the country. We were able to network and share concerns and suggestions about the state of education in the United States. We heard from both the 2011 National Principal and Teacher of the Year. They were enthusiastic, energetic, and passionate about children and the need for all educators to do the same.”
Saint Dominic School received a National Blue Ribbon School Award from the United States Department of Education in September. 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.
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.
In a past interview with The Observer, 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.
In September, 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, according to a statement released at the time. “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. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
“When I was hired at Saint Dominic School the search committee wanted the school to be one of the best in the Archdiocese, six years later it is,” Tiezzi said in a release. “Goal accomplished.”
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