Chicago Tribune Recognizes St. Athanasius Award

Chicago Tribune Recognizes St. Athanasius Award
Posted on 09/27/2019
St. Athanasius School was one of 362 Blue Ribbon Schools across the U.S. named Thursday, September 26, by the U.S. Department of Education for 2019, reported Chicago Tribune.

The recent honor represents the second National Blue Ribbon award for the school.

To read a transcript of the article, read on, or visit chicagotribune.com.

St. Athanasius in Evanston named 2019 National Blue Ribbon School

By KAREN ANN CULLOTTA

PIONEER PRESS | SEP 27, 2019 | 4:31 PM

For St. Athanasius School principal Carol McClay, the joy of being named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School called for an impromptu celebration in Evanston Thursday with her 211 students.

“I held up the Blue Ribbon flag we were given in Washington when we won the award in 2012, and I asked the students, ‘what do you notice?’” McClay said. “The kids said ‘we were a Blue Ribbon school in 2012,’ and then I slapped on a patch with 2019, and the whole crowd just erupted ... it was a great build-up to huge news.”


The pre-kindergarten through 8th grade private Catholic school was one of 362 Blue Ribbon Schools across the U.S. named Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education for 2019.


McClay said the recent honor represents the second National Blue Ribbon award for the school.


The awards are bestowed on both public and private schools across the U.S. that demonstrate academic excellence, or which are making strong strides in improving student achievement, McClay said.


St. Athanasius was recognized in the first category, as “an exemplary high performing school,” as measured by student assessments on the ACT Aspire test, McClay said.

But the rigor and success of the school’s academic program is not the only attribute that makes St. Athanasius, “a small school doing big things,” McClay said.

“When you come into our school, you experience a welcoming environment from teachers and students,” McClay said. “I’ve had people comment, ‘your hallways are so quiet.’ But when you walk into a classroom, there’s always so much going on, and a lot of learning taking place. I tell our students that our time together is important, and we’re all better together, where we can support one another.”

In Illinois, 25 elementary, middle, and high schools were recipients of the 2019 award, including 16 public schools and nine private schools, officials at the Illinois State Board of Education said in a statement.


“Illinois’ Blue Ribbon Schools are nationwide leaders in academic achievement," State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala said.


“They challenge students to think critically about today’s and tomorrow’s issues and equip students with the skills they need to thrive,” Ayala added.


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will honor the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15.

kcullotta@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @kcullotta

 

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