Schools earn ‘Blue Ribbon’ distinction

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Two schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville have been named 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools — Our Lady of Lourdes School, 510 Breckenridge Lane, and Sacred Heart Model School, 3105 Lexington Road.

The awards were announced Oct. 1 by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The awards will be presented by the U.S. Department of Education in a ceremony Nov. 7 in Washington, D.C.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private high, middle and elementary schools. Our Lady of Lourdes and Sacred Heart Model were honored as exemplary high performing schools, meaning they have the state’s highest achieving students, those in the top 15 percent, in English and mathematics as measured by a national assessment, a news release from the archdiocese said.

This is the second time both schools have been recognized with a Blue Ribbon distinction. Our Lady of Lourdes was previously honored in 2008, and Sacred Heart Model was recognized in 2001.

Jeff Beavin, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, said the honor is something to be celebrated at both the school and parish level.

“Our school is a ministry of the parish so this is really a parish award. This is really a great gift for the parish to have this good news,” he said in an interview Oct. 2.

Beavin, who is in his first year as principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, noted the hard work put forth by students on a daily basis.

“We have always been able to maintain high standards here. I’m thankful to have parents that are of like mind and have high expectations for their own children. This is truly a team effort,” he said.

Beavin, who taught at the school for 17 years prior to becoming principal, was part of the group that represented the school 10 years ago when they received the school’s first Blue Ribbon.

“I told the students yesterday to look around at all these folks that are here to support you and help you learn every day of the school year. I’ve seen a lot of teachers walking around today about three and half inches above the ground. This is an affirmation of the hard work they put in everyday,” he said, noting the school has plans to celebrate Oct. 18.

Dr. Michael Bratcher, principal of Sacred Heart Model, said the recognition is “affirmation for our good work.”

“It’s definitely an honor for our students, teachers and staff and our parents. It’s the highest award given to schools. To get this award on a national level means a lot to the school. We are notably proud of our accomplishment,” he said in a phone interview Oct. 2.

He credits the award with the hard work of the entire school community: students, staff, faculty and parents.

“It just shows we have a good thing here at Sacred Heart Model School. Our students are committed. Our teachers are committed. What we are doing works,” he said.

Bratcher noted the school’s recent steps to become an International Baccalaureate World School and said he believes it made a difference in the application.

“We are moving to classrooms of the future here. All our classrooms are being transformed into interactive learning spaces where students have the option for flexible seating. The students have the opportunity to get up; they are not just seated in desks in rows,” he said.

The two schools are among five public and six non-public schools recognized in Kentucky. They were the only two schools recognized in Jefferson County. Three hundred forty-nine schools were recognized nationwide; 49 were non-public schools.

Five Catholic high schools and 13 other elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville have previously received this distinction. They are: Assumption High School, Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, Trinity High School and St. Xavier High School.

And St. Agnes, St. Albert the Great, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Gabriel, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, St. Margaret Mary, St. Mary Academy, St. Patrick and St. Raphael in Louisville and St. Aloysius in Pewee Valley, Ky., St. James in Elizabethtown, Ky., and St. Joseph in Bardstown, Ky.

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