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ArlingtonEducationSt. Agnes named Blue Ribbon School for second time

St. Agnes named Blue Ribbon School for second time

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It’s a repeat performance for Saint Agnes Catholic School, which for the second time has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Arlington school, which instructs students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, was one of 297 nationwide to receive the 2022 accolade. Honorees were announced Sept. 16.

“The mission of the school is to follow in the footsteps of Christ and St. Agnes, to educate the whole child,” said St. Agnes principal Jennifer Kuzdzal said. “My faculty is incredible, our kids are tremendous and the parent partnership is so strong. This recognition validates everything we do here, and I am so grateful for the supportive community of St. Agnes.”

St. Agnes was the only one in Arlington, and one of only seven (as well as the lone private school) from Virginia to receive the 2022 honor. It previously had been named a Blue Ribbon School in 2009.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations,” said Michael Burbidge, the Roman Catholic bishop of Arlington. “Under the inspired and joyful leadership of Principal Kuzdzal and the strong support of pastor Father William Saunders, St. Agnes School offers students a Christ-centered education focused on academic excellence and the development of the whole child.”

“This second Blue Ribbon recognition affirms the strength of the school and the great work of the faculty and staff,” Burbidge said.

Up to 420 schools can be recognized annually through the program, although the number was lower this year. Up to 50 private schools can be among the honorees.

“Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental-health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement accompanying the announcement of honorees.

More than 60 percent of the Arlington diocesan school district have achieved Blue Ribbon status at least once. St. James Catholic School in Falls Church has received it three times (1999, 2014 and 2020) and St. Agnes School joins Blessed Sacrament (2008, 2018) as a two-time awardee.

St. Agnes has an enrollment of about 450 students. Kuzdzal has been a member of the St. Agnes School community for 20 years, first as a teacher and now as principal.

Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. The Department of Education recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on student scores (both overall and by sub-group) and graduation rates.

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