Students at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Lansdale are seen on the first day of the 2022-2023 school year. (Corpus Christi Catholic School/Instagram)

Two archdiocesan elementary schools are celebrating after receiving a coveted national honor.

Corpus Christi Catholic School in Lansdale and Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School in King of Prussia have been selected as part of the 2022 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The total list of 297 honorees was announced Sept. 16 by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona. The archdiocesan schools are among only 24 private or religious schools in the country to receive the ribbon. Corpus Christi was previously added to the distinguished roll in 2011.

Representatives from the schools will travel to Washington, D.C. Nov. 3 and 4 for the Department of Education’s formal recognition ceremony.

With the 2022 winners, a total of 48 parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the five-county archdiocesan area have now attained Blue Ribbon status since the program was launched in 1982. St. Genevieve Catholic School in Flourtown counts three such ribbons (2000, 2006 and 2016), more than any other school in the archdiocese.

As in previous award years, the 2022 schools were chosen based on their overall academic excellence. In particular, Blue Ribbon officials look for student achievement in English and mathematics that ranks within the top 15% nationally. Schools are also selected when significant improvements have been made in students’ academic achievement.

Students at Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School show off their “mathletics” awards March 22, 2022. (Mother Teresa Regional School/Instagram)

For educators and students alike, the honor is “kind of like winning the Super Bowl,” said archdiocesan secretary for elementary education Dr. Andrew McLaughlin.

“It’s a time when you’re completely recognized for all your hard work,” he said. “Very few schools receive it, so being singled out makes you feel really special. You have a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

Corpus Christi principal Maria Greenberg said the award was “a testament to the hard work of teachers and students alike,” showing that “hard work and dedication are the bottom line” in attaining the honor.

The ribbon also underscores the “humbling reality that we don’t do this alone,” said Father Martin Coppi, pastor of Mother of Divine Providence Parish in King of Prussia, home to Mother Teresa Regional. “We strive with God’s help, and we journey with Christ…(who) helps us to see the award as a humble person, recognizing your gifts.”

Principal Christine Pagan agreed, noting the school had “worked really hard” for the honor by honing reading and math skills through a data-driven, integrated approach that paid off.

When news of the award broke, “you could hear cheers erupting in the hall,” she said. “The kids came running to hug me. We even gave out blue lollipops, so we all got blue tongues.”

In a video message, Archbishop Nelson Pérez said the Corpus Christi and Mother Teresa school communities served as “shining examples of the very best that Catholic education has to offer.”

Archdiocesan elementary schools have performed strongly across the board over the past year, countering a national trend of learning loss due to COVID identified by the Brookings Institution and researchers at Harvard University and other organizations.

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education (OCE) named 62 parish and regional elementary schools as Archdiocesan Schools of Distinguished Instruction for gains in both growth and potential.

“We focus on good academics, and on educating the whole person,” said McLauglin.