St. Francis of Assisi School in the Highlands has been named a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School.
The awards were announced on Sept. 16 by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Twenty-four non-public schools in the nation were named Blue Ribbon recipients. St. Francis is one of two non-public schools in Kentucky to receive the designation this year.
“It took everybody rowing in the same direction and putting their best foot forward” to be selected, said Steve Frommeyer, St. Francis’ principal. “We’re really pleased with everyone’s efforts to work together.”
St. Francis was honored as an exemplary high-performing school, meaning it has some of the state’s highest achieving students, those in the top 15 percent. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private high, middle and elementary schools.
This is the second time St. Francis has earned the distinction. It was previously honored in 2016.
“What a great affirmation for our teachers and our parents and our students, all of them, for all the hard work they’ve put in because it wasn’t easy,” Frommeyer said in a phone interview. “It’s not easy to win a Blue Ribbon period, much less during COVID.”
He said he’s proud of the effort his students, staff, teachers and parents made to even be considered for the honor. And, Frommeyer said he appreciates the Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Catholics Schools for its support.
“In many ways, everyone deserves a blue ribbon for the way they were able to pull off what they did” over the past several years, Frommeyer said.
“We’re blessed to win the award,” he noted. “But I know everybody really worked extremely hard to educate the kids during a really tough time over the past several years.”
Superintendent Mary Beth Bowling, data and technology specialist Donna Brown and other archdiocesan staff “were really helpful to us,” Frommeyer said. “It’s genuinely true, they’ve been so supportive. They encouraged us even to apply.”
Bowling said Frommeyer is humble about his own accomplishments, but credits him, the school’s faculty and staff as well as the students with the achievement.
“It’s a huge accomplishment and speaks to the leadership, our teachers and their students. It’s exciting,” said Bowling.
“I know they have worked diligently to get to this point, and so hard,” she said. “They have to work collaboratively to make this happen — teachers engaging students and energizing them to meet the required proficiency. Students have to engage with their teachers. It’s a both and.”
St. Francis is among six public and non-public elementary schools in Kentucky to receive the Blue Ribbon distinction. In total, the Department of Education honored 273 public and 24 non-public schools nationwide.
The Council for American Private Education administers the National Blue Ribbon Schools program for private schools on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.
Five Catholic high schools and 16 other elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville have previously earned the distinction.
They are Assumption High School, Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, St. Xavier High School and Trinity High School.
And, St. Agnes, St. Albert the Great, Ascension, St. Gabriel, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart Model School, St. Margaret Mary, St. Mary Academy, St. Patrick, St. Raphael, St. Aloysius in Pewee Valley, Ky., St. James in Elizabethtown, Ky., St. Joseph in Bardstown, Ky., and St. Dominic in Springfield, Ky.
Editor Marnie McAllister contributed to this story.