National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence
Patrick Magee and Lauren Roberts receive the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award



U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Dallas, Texas as one of 269 schools named as a National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels. 

The Department selected 219 public and 50 private schools nationwide in 2012, and honored those schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.  In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,000 of America’s schools.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers.  Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School was recognized in the “Exemplary High Performing” category.

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. 

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School opened in 1947, and has served the East Dallas area for 68 years. It has retained its position as the largest Catholic K-8 in the state of Texas since 2009, with a current student population numbering nearly 900 students in PreKindergarten through 8th grade. President Patrick J. Magee, M.Ed, currently in his 11th year at St. Thomas, has overseen growth to two school campuses, enrollment increases of 20% and consistent high performance in student standardized testing scores. During the past decade, the school has embraced the cultivation of technology in every classroom through SmartBoardTM use and the launch of a 1:1 learning environment supported by iPad use for middle school students. St. Thomas Aquinas is accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. St. Thomas Aquinas is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas and was also recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 1996.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon Schools program at


St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School:  3741 Abrams Road | Dallas, TX 75214 | p 214.826.0566 | f 214.826.0251
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