September 29, 2016
The U.S. Department of Education announced yesterday that St. Cassian School in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, will receive the National Blue Ribbon Award for exemplary high performance. Each year, the U.S. Department Education seeks out schools which meet its high criteria for either overall academic excellence or closing achievement gaps and awards them this highest honor.
St. Cassian School’s Principal, Maria Llanes, announced the exciting news to a roomful of parents, teachers and staff at its “Back to School” night:
“Congratulations to our students, teachers, staff, alumni and the St. Cassian parish for this remarkable achievement in our 63-year history. Our Blue Ribbon flag will fly high above our school to remind us every day that, through God’s grace, we can all achieve high levels when we work hard and work together.
A few critical elements converged to make this Blue Ribbon Award possible. First, our students climbed new heights in academic achievement. We, the faculty, were quite aware of their success, but it’s so wonderful to see the success recognized nationally. Put simply, this award places us in the top 15 percent of schools in the country.
In addition, we’ve created a culture at St. Cassian School where teaching and learning are inspired by infusing art and technology into curricula to engage students’ multiple intelligences. We embrace the idea that the love for writing may not come only from writing assignments, but from authors who share with students how life can develop into a book. Students’ love of country may not expand by simply reading about our “founding fathers”, but we know it does when our Mini Model Congress Team travels to Trenton to hear directly from legislators. Their love of history may not develop from classroom lectures, but from creating a silent film about the “Roaring Twenties”. The love of math may not come from a textbook, but through fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities, such as building a bridge with classmates.
Engaging students in this manner makes learning a creative and fun process at St. Cassian School and our Blue Ribbon Award signifies our success. It's such an exciting time for the faculty and the students as we learn and achieve together!”
Mrs. Catherine Grube, the president of the school parent association, addressed the audience to thank the St. Cassian community: “Above all the academics, we know that St. Cassian students thrive because of the support they receive spiritually and socially from the St. Cassian parish community, especially our fantastic teachers, pastors and parents. With their support, students put their faith and intelligence to work by helping the community, especially those less fortunate. With my own three boys at St. Cassian School, I know that they will be ready for 21st century challenges and they --- and all of our students -- will be its leaders and champions.”
Principal Llanes explained that the actual award will be presented to school representatives on November 7-8th, in Washington, D.C. Once received, the plaque and the Blue Ribbon Award flag will be celebrated and prominently displayed at St. Cassian School.
For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Award program and announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, go to http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-education-secretary-john-b-king-jr-recognizes-329-national-blue-ribbon-schools.
Founded in 1952, St. Cassian School is a thoughtful, respectful and loving, family-oriented school focusing on providing a quality education and fostering Christian values. Our mission is primarily to help each child develop as a whole independent person: spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically through a faith-based curriculum integrating technology and the visual and performing arts. Learn more at www.stcassianschool.org.