We received the official announcement September 29, 2017 from the U.S. Department of Education that St. Mary Catholic School had been named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence!
The National Blue Ribbon program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. SMCS was recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School. The designation is the highest academic honor bestowed upon a school by the U.S. Department of Education.
To be eligible to apply as an Exemplary High Performing School, SMCS students had to perform in the top 15% of the nation in reading and mathematics as measured by a nationally-normed test in the most recent year tested. Having met the eligibility requirement as a private school, SMCS then had to be nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) by meeting CAPE’s stringent criteria for recognition. A school must have a strong curricular program and a school culture that supports and engages families and the community.
SMCS met all the requirements and received national recognition. We were one of only 342 schools across the nation and one of only 50 private schools in the entire nation to receive this prestigious award.
Mrs. Mary K. Barger, who serves as our Test Coordinator, and I attended the awards ceremony on November 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education presented SMCS with a plaque and a 2017 National Blue Ribbon flag as a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning for us to fly proudly in our school courtyard.
This was truly an amazing honor to be bestowed upon SMCS and such a blessing to our faculty and staff, students, parents, Home & School Association, School Board, Pastor, and entire school community who embody the school mission, St. Mary Catholic School empowers children in their faith journey and promotes academic excellence and life-long service inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a nurturing community, in all programs and expectations. Faith, academics, service, family, traditions, and technology are hallmarks of SMCS as a result of the collaboration and hard work of our entire school community.
A sincere thank you is extended to Father Cibelli, SMCS School Board, and St. Mary Parish for their belief that Catholic education is a mission of the Church and for providing SMCS with never-ending support.
I would like to thank our H.S.A. Executive Board, as well as all our SMCS parents, who recognize the value and importance of a Catholic education and have made many a sacrifice to ensure their child or children have that advantage and for partnering with the SMCS faculty and staff in helping our students become the best that they can be.
The SMCS Faculty and Staff is truly an outstanding group of professional educators who hold our students to high expectations and standards, engage students in active learning, and create a positive learning environment that enables all students to flourish. Their efforts are to be commended.
And finally, our students are to be thanked and congratulated for all their efforts for achieving academic excellence, displaying a love of learning, building a school environment that emphasizes being kind and gentle, being respectful, and being responsible, and appreciating the importance of prayer throughout their day.
The recognition of St. Mary Catholic School as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School was truly an honor. Our welcoming and nurturing school community is comprised of amazing individuals who all work together to make SMCS such a special place. Our strong Catholic identity and high standards of excellence made St. Mary Catholic School a blue ribbon school!
This is a proud and exciting time for all of us. Please read the U.S. Department of Education Press Release.
As always, I ask for your prayers to the Holy Spirit to give me the guidance and wisdom needed to serve as principal of St. Mary Catholic School.
May God Bless you!
Patricia A. McDermott
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In choosing St. Mary Catholic School, you are investing in your child’s tomorrow. For over 145 years students and families have been entrusting SMCS for educational excellence – spiritually, academically, and socially. We invite you to visit our campus in historic Hagerstown, Maryland to learn more about our school as well as our school community.