Five Catholic Elementary Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Continue to Receive Recognition as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence

Thursday, December 12th



These schools were among only 50 private or religious schools in the country to receive this honor.  

Cardinal John Foley Regional Catholic School in Havertown (Delaware County), Mary, Mother of the Redeemer in North Wales (Montgomery County), Saint Pius X Catholic School in Broomall (Delaware County), Saint Thomas the Apostle School in Glen Mills (Delaware County), and Saints Colman-John Neumann in Bryn Mawr (Delaware County) were selected as part of the 2019 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools

Cardinal John Foley Regional Catholic School in Havertown (Delaware County), Mary, Mother of the Redeemer in North Wales (Montgomery County), Saint Pius X Catholic School in Broomall (Delaware County), Saint Thomas the Apostle School in Glen Mills (Delaware County), and Saints Colman-John Neumann in Bryn Mawr (Delaware County) were selected as part of the 2019 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools in an announcement made by Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the United States Department of Education (USDOE), on September 26th.  Since that time the five schools have been honored and recognized for this elite achievement at various events locally, regionally, and nationally.  This week at an event in Hershey, PA, (Monday, December 9, 2019) they received regional recognition at an awards ceremony for the 18 schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools in the state this year.

The Archdiocesan schools are five of only 362 schools chosen nationally and among just 50 non-public schools selected nationally.  Each school was chosen for this honor based on overall academic excellence. Four of the five received National Blue Ribbon School designation for the first time.  Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School previously received the designation in 2010. 

Dr. Andrew McLaughlin, Secretary for Elementary Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, reacted to the announcement by saying, “We are extremely proud of the five elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia chosen as part of the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools cohort. The fact that each of these schools has been recognized for academic excellence speaks volumes toward the work done in our elementary Catholic schools each day.  This award and ones like it are truly a testament to the partnership among the faculty, staff, and school families as well as all of the hard work and sacrifice put in day in and day out to provide a Christ-centered, quality, 21st century education to each and every young person in their care. I offer my prayerful congratulations to the schools being recognized today. They along with the 31 other schools who have been chosen as Blue Ribbon schools in the past should serve as solid examples of excellence to all of us working in the field of Catholic education.”

With the addition of the 2019 cohort, a total of 36 different parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the five-county Archdiocese have been recognized with Blue Ribbon Status since the program’s inception in 1982. Saint Genevieve Catholic School in Flourtown (Montgomery County) has received this honor more times than any other school in the Archdiocese (2000, 2006, and 2016).

The USDOE held a recognition ceremony for this year’s Blue Ribbon Schools during the week of November 11, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the five schools noted above were present.

In addition to the national recognition ceremony, each of the eight schools have held local celebrations throughout the fall.

Editor’s note:  Listed in alphabetical order below are the five 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Cardinal John Foley Regional Catholic School, opened its doors on July 1, 2012 in Havertown, PA as a result of a merger of two neighboring parish schools. The decision was made by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to merge the parish schools of Annunciation BVM and Saint Denis to form a regional school. The closing of two parish schools with rich histories and committed alumni was difficult. Cardinal Foley School was in the unique position of trying to find a way to honor the traditions of both parish schools, while forging a new school community committed to providing a strong academic program whose backbone is the doctrine and rituals of the Catholic faith.

Those vested in the success of Cardinal Foley School recognized that the common bond of the respective parish schools was that the Sisters of Mercy had staffed both schools for many years. Drawing on this shared history of the mercy charism, the mission for Cardinal Foley School took shape. The administration and staff work collaboratively with its families to create a respectful learning environment that supports the spiritual, academic, and emotional growth of its students.

Beginning and ending its school days by engaging in quiet prayer as a school community provides its students an opportunity for stillness in a busy world. As they focus on the Holy Spirit living inside each of them, they learn to become present in the moment and mindful of the importance of prayer in a faith-filled life.

With gratitude for the past, trust for the present, and hope for the future, Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School (MMR) has maintained a keen focus on the complimentary balance between faith development and academic distinction. From its first recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2010 to its second accolade in 2019, MMR seized every opportunity to consider, examine, and ultimately implement those approaches which enhanced the experiences of its students and challenged its faculty to continuously implement the best practices which define excellence in instruction and discovery. Rooted in the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, MMR is committed to guiding God’s children to the realization that every child is unique and possesses individual gifts. Relationships are the keystone to the structure of all that encompasses Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School, and an authentic commitment to faith, students, and family flows forth naturally.

Instructional initiatives have produced visible achievements and can be found in MMR’s willingness to align learning with talents and capabilities. The school’s Ready Room Program helps learners experience an individualized approach with adaptive methodologies. The Innovation Lab challenges all students to demonstrate imagination as they work collectively to create solutions to global challenges, based on a STREAM approach. Standards-based grading in the early years allows students to recognize personal accomplishments. Technology is not just used at MMR, it is a critical tool for taking students beyond the classroom.

Catholicity, care, and community are at the center of all that is Mary, Mother of the Redeemer School as it proudly continues on in its mission of providing a distinctive, quality Catholic education.

Saint Pius X Catholic School (SPX) in Broomall, Pennsylvania strives to develop strong Christian leaders by providing an environment where faith, academics, and community service are paramount.

At Saint Pius X School, where Jesus is the Center and Mary is the Model, students are challenged to practice the IHM charism of prayer, love, hospitality, and service. SPX students embrace and strengthen their faith through daily prayer and participation in the sacraments. These young parishioners are reminded of the responsibility to share the Good News of Jesus in and beyond the SPX Parish community. As a result, students participate in service projects that benefit the less fortunate.

SPX embraces many strategies to promote academic excellence. Recent upgrades in technology have enabled teachers and students to harness the power of Google Suite. This enhanced technology has broadened the instruction capabilities of teachers and unleashed learning opportunities for students at all levels of ability. SPX continually explores ways to strengthen all areas of the curriculum. Recent additions to the reading, math, and science curricula have resulted in excellent standardized test scores as well as a remarkable number of scholarships to private and archdiocesan high schools for SPX students.  Saint Pius X Catholic School is fortunate to have a parish community that supports the faculty and staff in the vital mission of preparing students with a solid academic and Christian foundation. SPX is proud of its history of educating strong leaders and looks forward to continuing its tradition of excellence for many years to come.

Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, is a Middle States accredited Catholic elementary school, educating students in preschool through grade 8. Its school motto is “Smile, Share, Make Good Decisions.” These words encapsulate its school identity, inspiration, and purpose in providing a higher learning experience.

Saint Thomas the Apostle meets and exceeds National Blue Ribbon standards with the goal to graduate young men and women who possess the knowledge and skills needed in the 21st century. At Saint Thomas the Apostle School, they call each student to play a part in the mission of the Church and to commit themselves to serve God, serve the Church, and serve the Community, and Family. Through liturgy celebrations such as the Mass and community projects its students learn and live their faith. As a result, they develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Through a safe and nurturing environment, Saint Thomas the Apostle School provides various opportunities for growth and creativity.

Saint Thomas the Apostle recognizes the critical importance that technology plays in teaching tomorrow’s leaders. Saint Thomas the Apostle teachers employ technology in their classroom planning, monitoring of student progress, and most importantly for student engagement with content material. The students benefit immensely from their access to a wide range of technological opportunities: Chromebooks, SMART Boards, and devices such as iPads, drones, 3D printers/pens. Its students also successfully utilize applications such as: Google Apps and Google Classroom in their curriculum application, school clubs, and activities.

Saint Thomas the Apostle is proud of the dedication and accomplishments of its students, parents, and staff, and honored to educate the world’s future leaders. 

Saints Colman-John Neumann School (SCJN), is a Catholic elementary school that has proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ for over fifty years. SCJN seeks to educate the whole person through both academic and faith-filled methods of instruction. Partnering with families, Saints Colman-John Neumann teachers prepare students to understand that it is their responsibility as Catholic citizens to extend God’s mercy and compassion to those in need. The school’s strong Social Justice Program encourages students to make a positive difference in their own lives by giving to others and in the lives of those in need.

SCJN’s academic program is both rigorous and rooted in Catholic values. It is the mission of the administration and faculty to cultivate a loving and nurturing environment; while at the same time, implementing an academic program that is engaging, challenging, and success-oriented. The SCJN faculty challenges students by using methods of instruction that foster their academic, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical development. SCJN teachers work together to create interactive instruction that fortifies the goals, objectives, and skills within all curriculum areas. SCJN is committed to quality teaching and learning, striving to ensure that all students succeed to the best of their ability.

Faith, community, service, and academic excellence are the foundations of SCJN. The school community prepares students to become moral and compassionate leaders who serve, lead, and succeed. These factors are the keys to the success of Ss. Colman-John Neumann School in providing a quality Catholic education.

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Editor’s Notes: For information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit  For a complete list of 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools, please visit

Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement.  Since the program’s founding, the U.S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on more than 8,500 of America’s schools.