Three schools operated by Synod congregations have been named “Blue Ribbon Schools” for 2003-04 — the highest honor for schools given by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).
They are St. John’s Lutheran School, Denver, Colo.; Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrollton, Texas; and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School, San Antonio, Texas.
The blue-ribbon program started in 1982 and is now part of President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program.
In a Sept. 17 USDE news release, U.S. Secretary of Education Ron Paige announced the 256-plus blue-ribbon elementary and secondary schools, including 50 private schools.
“I congratulate them for their achievements,” Paige said of the 2003-04 winners.
According to the news release, the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools program “recognizes schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap or whose students achieve at very high levels.”
Paige said the winning schools meet at least one of these three criteria:
- At least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds dramatically improve their performance on state tests.
- All their students achieve in the top 10 percent on state tests.
- They achieve in the top 10 percent nationwide.
All the blue-ribbon schools will be recognized officially at a Nov.4- 5 event in Washington, D.C., that is scheduled to include panel discussions with principals and teachers from representative schools, addresses by USDE executives and an awards luncheon.
Representatives of the three LCMS schools said that each of their schools is celebrating their win with local events involving students and teachers.
“Being named a Blue-Ribbon school is a great honor,” said William Cochran, director of schools for the Synod’s Board for District and Congregational Services. “It speaks to the high priority our congregations continue to place on quality Christian education — as they have done throughout the history of our church body.”
Administrators nominate their schools for blue-ribbon designation by submitting detailed information on such topics as their schools’ mission, student-body makeup, curriculum and other indicators of academic excellence.
For the three schools operated by Synod congregations named blue-ribbon winners for 2003-04, those administrators are Dr. Kenneth Palmreuter, principal of St. John’s Lutheran School, Denver; Sue Gary, principal of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School, San Antonio; and Chris Hahn, head of school at Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrolton.
All three told Reporter that last year was the first time their schools had applied for the honor.
However, this is the third time that Palmreuter has been principal of a Lutheran school when it was named to a blue-ribbon list — including Detroit Lutheran High School West in 1987 and Denver Lutheran High School in 1991.
St. John’s has about 270 students, including an early-learning center and Grades K-8. The school has been in continuous operation since 1899.
Shepherd of the Hills has an enrollment of 475 (preschool-Grade 8). It is currently marking its 25th anniversary.
Prince of Peace has 750 students (preschool-Grade 12), and has held classes since 1980.
Private schools apply for the Blue Ribbon Schools program through the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).
The first step in that process for the 2004-05 awards program is for school officials to advise CAPE of their interest in applying through an online registration form that must be submitted by Dec. 1.
For more details about the application process, as well as answers to frequently asked questions and other help, go to the CAPE Web site at www.capenet.org/brs.html.
Posted Oct. 4, 2004