Since 1982, the United States Department of Education has been recognizing public and private elementary, middle, and high schools for their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Each year, the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels.
In 2015, Cardinal Hickey Academy was one of two private schools in Maryland to be awarded the The National Blue Ribbon award; only 50 private schools received it nationally. According to the National Blue Ribbon Program website, “this award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.”
The school received the National Blue Ribbon School flag as part of the award; this flag symbolises exemplary teaching and learning.In order to win the award, Cardinal Hickey Academy had to show that it was an “Exemplary High Performing School”. The National Blue Ribbon Program defines “High performing” as the following:
- That the achievement of the school’s students in the most recent year tested places the school in the top 15 percent in the nation in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics as measured by a nationally normed test or in the top 15 percent of its state as measured by a state test. If a non-public school administers both state tests and nationally normed tests, the school must be in the top 15 percent in both.
- Disaggregated results for student groups, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, must be similar to the results for all students tested.