St. Andrew School in Newtown, Bucks County and St. Patrick School in Malvern, Chester County were selected as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools during an announcement Sept. 24 by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The two parish elementary schools were two of 286 schools nationally and 15 schools statewide to be selected for the honor. They were the only Catholic schools in Pennsylvania selected this year.

“We are extremely proud of St. Andrew and St. Patrick Schools for achieving the prestigious distinction of Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Jacqueline Coccia, superintendent for elementary schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “The teachers, administrators and school families at these institutions are a testament to the quality of Catholic education throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We couldn’t be happier to see their hard work and dedication recognized on a national level.”

The schools will be honored by the U.S. Department of Education at a recognition ceremony for Blue Ribbon Schools on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement. Since the program’s founding, the Education Department has bestowed the award on more than 7,500 schools in the country.