The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Fayetteville school again receives highest honor

Published: September 24, 2020   
Courtesy Megan Ceballos / File Photo
St. Joseph School kindergarten students Gracie Rudolph and Lou Purtle play at their desks in September. The Fayetteville school was again named as a National Blue Ribbon school.

FAYETTEVILLE -- St. Joseph School in Fayetteville has done something most schools haven’t been able to achieve.

It was named a National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High Performing School in 2014 and named to the list again Sept. 24. St. Joseph is the first nonpublic school in the state to be a repeat winner.

An online celebration is planned for Friday, Oct. 16 at 2:30 p.m. on Zoom. State and local dignitaries as well as faculty and staff will share their congratulations.

The National Blue Ribbon award was established in 1982 to recognize public and nonpublic elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement. The National Blue Ribbon award is considered the highest honor an American school can achieve.

In 2014 St. Joseph Catholic School was the first nonpublic school in northwest Arkansas to ever receive the recognition. Of the approximately 1,200 schools in Arkansas, only 54 public schools and four nonpublic schools have received the award.

St. Joseph’s high standardized test scores qualified the school to submit an application to the Council for American Private Education highlighting the school’s operations, including professional development, leadership and community and family involvement. Once approved, CAPE recommended St. Joseph to the U.S. Department of Education as one of only 50 nonpublic schools to be considered for the award. St. Joseph was chosen based on the criteria of schools whose students score in the top 15 percent nationally in both reading and mathematics on national tests. 

Currently, 340 students are enrolled in pre-K3 through eighth grade. The student body includes 115 students from six minority groups. 


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