The Blue Ribbon Award acknowledges St. Mary’s efforts to help ensure that every child achieves and declares St. Mary’s to be “a model of improved student achievement from which others can take inspiration.”
In congratulating St. Mary’s, Nancy Knowlton, CEO of Smart Technologies Corporation, said that St. Mary’s offers its students “a rigorous, challenging and engaging program to ensure high levels of achievement for all students.”
Knowlton characterized St. Mary’s efforts and results as “truly exemplary.”
St. Mary’s School was classified as exemplary by TEA for the 2008-2009 school year.
Being named a Blue Ribbon School is to join an elite group. Out of 132,533 public and private schools in the country, only 321 were named Blue Ribbon Schools this year.
In Texas, only 26 schools received the award.
After participating in the awards ceremony, Simonson and Brown were invited to U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa’s office where they received his warm congratulations.
Brown said, “He has been a true friend to South Texas education for many years. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”
When asked to what she attributes St. Mary’s success, Brown said, “St. Mary’s has been blessed with dedicated teachers, committed parents and the most wonderful students. We also have a community who respects and supports education.”
Simonson believes that the students’, staff’s and parents’ willingness to work weekends, vacation days and summers is the key to the school’s success.
“You can drive by St. Mary’s on nights, weekends and holidays and there is always someone here working,” he said. “We average about 50 more instructional days per year than the average school district in Texas.”
St. Mary’s runs 26 Saturday schools, four intersession days and a 20-plus-day summer program. Extended programming is available to all St. Mary’s children.