HomeSuburbanSuburban NewsSaint Thomas School recognized as 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

Saint Thomas School recognized as 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

OLD BRIDGE — When Joanne Kowit became principal of Saint Thomas The Apostle School six years ago, her goal was to set a foundation for the students so they are prepared for high school and beyond.

“I wanted education excellence,” she said.

Six years later, the school not only is preparing students for high school and beyond, it has been recognized as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Kowit said, noting this is the first time Saint Thomas School has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School. “We can now scream academics and it shows we are doing a good job with our children.”

Kowit and Vice Principal Sue Hoos will travel to Washington D.C. on Nov. 7 and 8 as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will recognize Saint Thomas along with 348 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which began in 1982, recognizes 300 public and 49 private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Saint Thomas School is a pre-kindergarten and 3-8 grades school, which currently has an enrollment of 417 students.

Over the past five years, Kowit said the school has moved to block scheduling — with 140 minutes more school time of math and language arts a week — and has seen a transformation in the school’s curriculum with an addition of Spanish for grades 1-8, outlay of classrooms with standing desks and stability balls, and having teachers teach in their areas of expertise.

Kowit said with the changes, school officials saw student test scores increase 15 percent in every grade.

“The teachers are really committed, qualified, in what they are teaching and they are happy,” she said. “The kids are also happy.”

Kowit said to celebrate Blue Ribbon status, the school held a Blue Ribbon Fun Day for the students and on Nov. 10, a Blue Ribbon gala will be held for all the parents, staff, teachers and administrators.

Saint Thomas School is one of 18 schools in New Jersey to be named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Saint Helena School in Edison also made the list.

- Advertisment -

Stay Connected


Current Issue