LIMERICK >> St. Teresa of Calcutta School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School, the U.S. Deptartment of Education announced.
It is one of only 18 schools in Pennsylvania and one of only 50 elementary schools in the country to be so designated.
“We’re also the only school in Montgomery County to be named a Blue Ribbon School,” said the Rev. Paul Brandt, pastor of St. Teresa of Calcutta parish.
The award is based on a school’s overall academic excellence, according to the National Blue Ribbon Schools web site.
In her video message, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos praised the 2017 schools saying “National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future. You are visionaries, innovators, and leaders.”
Brandt said the school, now with 286 students, has been growing in size since it opened in 2008 with 145 students.
There hadn’t been a focus on applying to be considered a Blue Ribbon School “until we realized when we looked at the qualifications that we had achieved most of them, and then it was just a matter of filling out the application process,” Brandt said.
That’s no small task, given that just the application itself takes up 26 pages.
Blue Ribbon schools are nominated by the department of education in their state and their applications are then reviewed at the national level in Washington, D.C.
St. Teresa was designated in one of two categories in which schools can be named — the exemplary high-performing category, putting them among the top schools in the state.
The other category recognizes schools making the fastest progress in closing achievement gaps among underachieving groups.
Academic achievement is measured through the use of the national TerraNova tests, said Brandt.
“This recognition reflects that St. Teresa is among the top 15 percent for academic performance in the country,” he said. “When I announced it from the pulpit Sunday there was quite a round of applause.”