U.S. Department of Education Recognizes St. Thomas for Academic Excellence
On Friday, September 22, 2006, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School was notified that the US Department of Education had named it as one of 250 schools nationwide to receive the 2006 No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon School Program award. The award is given to schools (both public and private) that have made significant improvements in scholastic performance or whose students are achieving at very high levels. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School was recognized for the latter and was the only school in Arizona to receive Blue Ribbon School status that year. Specifically, the award recognized STA's academic excellence as measured by test scores that placed its students in the top 10 percent of national rankings.
As U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings noted, "These schools show what wonderful accomplishments can be made when we focus on the bottom line in education – student achievement." The entire application, nomination and selection process was started in September 2005. The application was submitted through CAPE, the Council for American Private Education, and involved assembling historical and current test scores for grades one through eight, writing extensive reports and providing detailed documentation as was required to move the application forward for nomination. The event was recognized with a week-long celebration later that fall.