The United States Department of Education operates a program to recognize exemplary schools across the United States called the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The program aims to identify outstanding schools, great improvement, and closing the achievement gap between subgroups in a school community. National Blue Ribbon awardees serve as a model to schools across the nation on how to create a strong learning environment, inspire leadership in students, and make a positive difference in the lives of everyone in the school community. The National Blue Ribbon Program represents the variety of schools in the United States such as public schools including charter schools, magnet/choice schools, Title I schools, and private schools including parochial and independent schools. The winners also represent the diversity of the United States by honoring schools with different ethnic, economic, social, and geographical backgrounds.
There are three award categories for the National Blue Ribbon Program. The “Exemplary High Performing” have their state’s highest high school graduation rates and the students must be in the top 15% of test scores in Reading and Mathematics, measured by state assessments. The “Exemplary Achieving Gap Closing” must have made an advancement in the top 15% of closing subgroup achievement gaps in English and Mathematics over the past five years, measured by state assessments. Private schools that are “Exemplary High Performing” schools must be in the top 15% across the country in Reading and Mathematics, measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
After receiving the award in 2015, Saint Paul’s was ineligible to be a National Blue Ribbon School for five years. It is very uncommon for a school to be a National Blue Ribbon School the first year of eligibility after already receiving the honor, but Saint Paul’s was able to do the improbable.
This year 325 schools were honorees of the National Blue Ribbon Program. Nationally, Saint Paul’s is one out of only twenty-three private schools to be honored this year. In Louisiana, Saint Paul’s is one of four high schools to be honored. There are only two private Blue Ribbon Program 2021 awardees in the greater New Orleans area- Saint Paul’s and Saint Scholastica Academy.
Saint Paul’s is a school of excellence because of the entire school community. The teachers and administration cultivate a learning environment that allows students to academically excel in class and effectively prepare for college. The students experience leadership qualities to make their peers better people and inspire change in the school community and beyond. The parents and guardians of students encourage them to be their best selves in school and provide the funds to allow their son to attend Saint Paul’s. Without the countless contributions of the members of the Saint Paul’s community, Saint Paul’s would not be able to be a nationally recognized school of excellence.