On September 15, 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that The Franciscan School in Raleigh is one of 49 private schools in the United States recognized as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School. A total of 304 public and private schools received the honor.
"The Franciscan School is an important and vital ministry of the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi,” said Father Mark Reamer, O.F.M., Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church. “It exists to provide our children with an opportunity not only for an academically excellent education, but also, integrated throughout the curriculum, a faith formation that will serve our students for the rest of their lives. I value the strong partnership with parents, parish and faculty. The Blue Ribbon recognition is a great tribute to the leadership of our principal Mrs. Jennifer Bigelow, the administration, faculty and staff of The Franciscan School."
The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program evaluates schools based on one of two criteria: (1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or (2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally normed tests.
"I am thrilled that the Franciscan School has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence,” Mrs. Bigelow said. “This award is a testament to the commitment of the entire St. Francis community to provide a faith-filled education for the students of this school. And now, our efforts to provide a quality Catholic Christian education are being recognized nationally."
In learning of the recognition, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said, “I extend profound congratulations to the faculty, staff, students, and parents of The Franciscan School for receiving the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence. This recognition is reserved for those schools that have demonstrated a commitment to excellence and high standards of achievement. I am grateful for the leadership of the Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Fr. Mark Reamer, O.F.M., and the principal of The Franciscan School, Mrs. Jennifer Bigelow, for their vision and dedication.”
Bishop Burbidge also expressed his gratitude to the teachers and staff who work so diligently every day with the students and parents of the school. “May God continue to bless all who are involved with this outstanding Catholic school.”
Diocesan Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Fedewa also extended his congratulations. “This recognition is the result of over a decade of hard work by the school and parish in creating a quality Catholic school that provides for the education of the whole child; intellectually, spiritually, and physically. The Franciscan School, along with the other four schools that have achieved this status, serves as a positive role model for all of our schools in the Diocese of Raleigh. The entire St. Francis Catholic Community is to be commended for this outstanding achievement.”
The four other schools that have received previous recognition are St. Michael the Archangel in Cary, Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, both in Raleigh. Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Burlington has received the Blue Ribbon twice.
The U.S. Education Department will honor the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools at a conference and awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.