Norwood-Fontbonne Academy teachers Jim Rockenbach, Sister Roseann Tribuiani (on left) and Colleen Hemberger (far right) celebrate NFA’s National Blue Ribbon honor with student leaders, (from left) Anthony Martosella, Sonja Bjornson, Cristina Glenn, Patrick Mraz (standing in back), and DJ Comerford (front).

Norwood-Fontbonne Academy teachers Jim Rockenbach, Sister Roseann Tribuiani (on left) and Colleen Hemberger (far right) celebrate NFA’s National Blue Ribbon honor with student leaders, (from left) Anthony Martosella, Sonja Bjornson, Cristina Glenn, Patrick Mraz (standing in back), and DJ Comerford (front).

Norwood-Fontbonne Academy (NFA) and Mount St. Joseph’s Academy were formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools for their overall academic excellence.

According to its website, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, founded in 1982, “honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.”

On Sept. 30, Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, announced the winners over the department’s livestream, which was broadcast in schools and viewed by principals, teachers and students.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education – that all students, no matter their name or ZIP code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

NFA and the Mount are two of 337 schools to be honored as 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This is the third time in 21 years that Mount St. Joseph’s has been so honored, being recognized in 1993 and 1998. NFA is the only Philadelphia elementary school to win the award.

“Our tradition of excellence is once again affirmed with this honor,” said Sister Kathleen Brabson, SSJ, president of Mount Saint Joseph’s. “It is the hard work of the entire Mount community that allows us to continue to educate young women as founders.”

“NFA is thrilled to be one of 337 schools across the nation selected to receive this 2014 honor,” said Sister Mary Helen Beirne, SSJ. NFA Head of School. “We know that excellence is not something that is achieved, but rather something that is consistently maintained. We are truly proud that our 94-year commitment to excellence has been recognized in this way.”

The Department will honor 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America’s schools.

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