METUCHEN — Student achievement in English and mathematics at St. Francis Cathedral School is in the top 15 percent in the country.
And for such achievement, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized the preschool to eighth grade school as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School, one of nine in the state to be recognized, on Sept. 28.
The school received the 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award for Exemplary Performance.
Principal Barbara Stevens said she was proud of the recognition, which is a testament to the faculty, students and parents.
“For nearly 90 years St. Francis Cathedral School, steeped in the tradition of service and peace, has offered a curriculum that promotes spiritual growth, academic excellence, and social responsibility,” she said.
Stevens said the SFCS community is committed to educational practices and to offering programs and resources that enable their students to achieve success at St. Francis, at the high school level, and in the future as faithful leaders of the 21st century.
DeVos said National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future.
“This program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards,” she said.
At St. Francis, a variety of academic strategies are employed to provide engaging educational opportunities through cooperative learning, hands-on presentations, and digital instruction and assessment.
The faculty incorporates 21st century learning through Google’s G Suite for Education and utilizes iPads, laptops, netbooks, and interactive white boards on a daily basis.
STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) activities integrated within the curriculum, as well as STEM Club projects, challenge students to think critically. Math and science are intertwined with technology and students are exposed to engineering practices.
Stevens and Vice-Principal Judi Monteleone plan strategically for the socio-emotional development of their students through a character development program entitled Character Counts and a Middle School Advisory Program. Both programs cultivate the values of respect, justice, and responsibility while encouraging students to develop qualities of leadership, teamwork, and character.
St. Francis School has a strong Home and School Association (HSA), which is an integral part of the school. Parent volunteers offer countless hours of their own time to assist with a variety of school activities and the entire school community is strongly supported by their Rector, Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Zamorski and parish family.
On Nov. 6 and 7, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate the school at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Some 342 schools were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.