ELIZABETH, NJ - Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 in Elizabeth has recently been named as a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
School No. 7 is one of 362 schools selected for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Selected public and private K-12 schools were honored based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools. On November 14 and 15, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The 2019 award received by School No. 7 is the sixth National Blue Ribbon School award received by the Elizabeth Public Schools in the past fourteen years. Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy (known as Elizabeth High School at the time the award was received, 2015), William F. Halloran School No. 22 (2006, 2014), Victor Mravlag School No. 21 (2008), and Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 (2011) have also received the national academic excellence award.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your students’ success demonstrates what is possible when committed educators partner with parents and community leaders to create vibrant, challenging cultures of learning.”
Terence C. Reilly Principal Theodore Panagopoulos received word from the United States Department of Education that School No. 7 was one of nine schools in the State of New Jersey given the prestigious honor.
“We are beaming with pride to once again be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Our students achieve great success because of the relentless dedication of all community members to provide excellent educational experiences and services,” said Panagopoulos. “It is an honor for us to work in such an inspiring place, with the most wonderful students, and we are excited for what the future will hold for Terence C. Reilly School No. 7.”
In 2018, School No. 7 was ranked No. 22 among 2,473 public schools in New Jersey and was in the top 15 among schools that serve elementary and middle school level students according to New Jersey Department of Education data. The school also focuses on character education and was one of 19 schools to be recognized as a 2018 New Jersey School of Character (NJSOC) by the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional and Character Development (NJASECD).
According to Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer, the dedication of School No. 7 to equity, expectations, and excellence has led to their sustained high levels of achievement.
“Earning this prestigious award is a reflection of the tremendous commitment by the students and team members of School No. 7 to perform at exceptional levels in all areas of learning and to close achievement gaps while upholding the standard of excellence,” said Hugelmeyer. “The selection of School No. 7 as a 2019 Blue Ribbon School is a validation of our belief that all students can learn and achieve at high levels regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, neighborhood, household income, or home language.”
Elizabeth Board of Education Stephanie G. Pestana marveled at the achievements of Elizabeth Public Schools when she was informed that School No. 7 had been named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School.
“Elizabeth Public Schools can say that since 2006, five of their schools have earned a combined six National Blue Ribbon School awards,” said Pestana. “That is a remarkable achievement for any district throughout the United States and shows Elizabeth Public Schools’ commitment to providing a high-quality education that prepares students for college and career success.”
For further information on Elizabeth schools go to www.epsnj.org.