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Saint Joseph Grade School
216 North Hill Street
South Bend, Indiana 46617
(574) 234-0451

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2011 National Blue Ribbon School Minimize

St. Joseph Grade School has been named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing.The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally‐normed tests.

Accredited through the North Central Association, St. Joseph School offers a core curriculum that far exceeds state and federal standards. Students have achieved consistent high performance as measured by annual Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP). This is due in large part to the School’s emphasis on mastering the fundamentals of reading, writing, and mathematics. Traditional studies at St. Joseph School are complemented by classes in religion, music, visual arts, foreign language, computers, language arts, and physical education. As a member of the Inter‐City Catholic League (ICCL), St. Joseph School students excel in athletic competition and the School promotes good sportsmanship and character building through sports. St. Joseph School students are also known for contributing their time and talent in service to the community. Students visit area agencies dedicated to serving the underprivileged such as the Christ Child Society and Hope Ministries. Other forms of service include visiting the elderly and the infirm at Holy Cross Village and at St. Mary’s Convent.

Mrs. Suzanne Wiwi, an alumna of St. Joseph School, has served as the School’s Principal since 1989. Owing to her outstanding leadership, St. Joseph School provides an exceptional learning environment for all of its students. The School has also witnessed significant growth in enrollment during her tenure. St. Joseph Grade School currently serves 446 children in grades K‐8. St. Joseph School teachers meet the highest standards of advanced training and are dedicated to providing students with a quality education. The National Blue Ribbon award honors Mrs. Wiwi, St. Joseph Grade School’s faculty and staff, its students and parents, the Congregation of Holy Cross, and all of St. Joseph Parish. It is also an honor for the Diocese of Fort Wayne‐South Bend, which, under the pastoral leadership of the Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, provides administrative, financial, and spiritual support for the 43 outstanding Catholic elementary and secondary educational institutions throughout its territory. St. Joseph Grade School is proud to share this particular honor with other Catholic elementary and secondary institutions in the Diocese of Fort Wayne‐South Bend which have received the National Blue Ribbon designation in past years, including Christ the King School (South Bend), St. Jude School (Fort Wayne), Bishop Dwenger High School (Fort Wayne), and St. Joseph’s High School (South Bend).

St. Joseph School expresses sincere gratitude to Bishop Rhoades and to his Superintendant of Catholic Schools, Dr. Mark Myers, for their support, encouragement, and leadership. The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The Department will honor the entire 255 public and 49 private schools with their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony November 14‐15 in Washington, D.C.

A list of the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools

 

  
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Principals Letter on Blue Ribbon Minimize

Dear Parents and Students,

Twenty-three years ago I never had aspirations to become a principal; my job in the second grade was “safe”, and I loved teaching the Sacraments. When I was asked to take on the challenge of taking over a school that was in danger of closing, I rose to the occasion, even though I admit the first year was rough. Having “vision” is a word that I used to think was for those in the business world, but the thought of a plan, a vision for a solid educational curriculum, a strong staff that sought professional development opportunities with a desire to educate young minds, parents that had a desire for a Catholic education for their children, children who loved to learn and sought to be the best they could be whether it be in the classroom, the athletic field, or more importantly in service to the school, the community, and their church was powerful, and all of it fueled a desire to dream and achieve. It was this mission that led all of us to work to make Saint Joseph Grade School a place where Christ was the center of all that we had and desired for our children.

It has been a challenging, but very rewarding, twenty-two years, and I want to thank Father John DeRiso, our pastor, and the many teachers, parents, students, parish members, and also those who are no longer with us who took on the challenge and worked hard to bring us where we are today. Thus, it is with pleasure that I announce that the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Program is honoring Saint Joseph Grade School for the 2011 school year. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or make significant progress in closing the achievement gap. Since 1982, the U. S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored many of America’s most successful schools.  A Blue Ribbon School flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policymakers in thousands of communities. The staff and I are humbled and honored by this award and know that we could not have achieved what we have without your support and most importantly the children who have taken on the challenge and expectations we have asked of them. With great respect for all I would like to thank Father John, the School Board, the Pastoral Team, and all of you, for the privilege I have had in serving your children and bringing them the joy our faith brings to me each day. 

Respectfully in Christ,

Suzanne Wiwi 

Principal, St. Joseph Grade School

  
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