9/19/12 | 976 views
Catholic School in Poughkeepsie Awarded Blue Ribbon Status
St. Martin de Porres School in Poughkeepsie is being honored as a 2012 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, the only private school in New York state to receive the distinction this year.
St. Martin de Porres was one of 269 schools in the nation to receive Blue Ribbon status. Twenty schools in New York were awarded the recognition this year.
The awards announcement was made Sept. 10 by Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. The schools will be honored at an awards ceremony Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.
“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,” Duncan said.
Dr. Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, said, “Today’s announcement marks the third consecutive year that the U.S. Department of Education has recognized Blue Ribbon excellence in one or more of our Catholic schools. That makes five schools in three years.”
In 2011, St. Ignatius Loyola and Transfiguration, both in Manhattan, were awarded Blue Ribbon status. In 2010, St. Joseph’s School in Bronxville and Our Lady of the Assumption in the Bronx were recognized.
St. Martin de Porres is under the leadership of Kathleen Leahy, principal. The school boasts an enrollment of 462 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. Msgr. James Sullivan is pastor of the parish.
“While particular praise must go to Principal Leahy, Msgr. Sullivan and their entire faculty and staff for their hard work, this is a proud day for all our Catholic schools, and an achievement that demonstrates Catholic education’s proven track record of success,” McNiff said.
In receiving the honor, the school was praised for its commitment and professionalism of the faculty and administration, its innovative approach, community engagement and collaborative leadership.
Each morning, students-led prayers are video-conferenced on Smart Boards in each of the classrooms. Parents are able to check their child’s progress through the Student Information System as well as access homework and other classroom messages on the school’s website.
Students collaborate with the parish and the community throughout the year through service projects, fund-raising drives, volunteer work and outreach programs. The students annually lead the St. Martin de Porres Knights of Columbus’ September 11 prayer service and also host a yearly luncheon honoring local veterans.
“National Blue Ribbon is not just about being a school of academic success,” said Mrs. Leahy in an interview. “It validates that our motto, ‘Experience the excellence,’ is put into action every day in all that we do and say, while always keeping Christ as our center.”
She noted that the students learned about the award at the first Mass of the school year. “It was just perfect that the Department of Education made the announcement that St. Martin’s was receiving the 2012 Blue Ribbon as we were in church celebrating the Eucharist together as a school community,” she said. “I could not think of a better location than our church for our faculty and students to hear the wonderful news of our accomplishment.” The news was received with cheers and applause, she said.
Mrs. Leahy said the students “work very hard every day in every single class.” As a recognition of the schools’ achievement, each classroom was draped in blue ribbons in celebration. Mrs. Leahy said the decorations are one of many ways the school plans to celebrate throughout the year.
She praised the collaboration of all those in the school community and said, “The pastor, clergy, faculty, parents and parish all are committed to our school and share a common goal to provide an excellent, Catholic, faith-based education in an atmosphere warmed by the powerful presence of God.”
Msgr. Sullivan, pastor, told CNY, “I was so proud of the accomplishment and the work Mrs. Leahy and the faculty have done at the school.” He said the honor highlights the “academic excellence and the quality of faith that exists at the school.”
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