The U.S. Department of Education named PMSA a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School on Oct. 1, an achievement that recognizes PMSA’s work closing the achievement gap among student subgroups based on race and economics.

The Department of Education’s recognition comes on the heels of being named the eighth best high school in the state in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list — which gave PMSA a Gold Medal Award — and Chicago Magazine naming it the third best high school in suburban Cook County.

Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez said in a statement he wanted to congratulate PMSA students, staff, families and the D209 Board of Education.

“Their work in and outside the classroom reflects teaching, learning, and policy implementation at its best,” he said in a statement. “The support of our parents and communities has helped us achieve this recognition and we thank them for all they have done for our district.”

This is the first year PMSA has been named a National Blue Ribbon School and the first time a school in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 has received the award. PMSA was one of 24 public schools in the state to receive this recognition, and one of 349 public and private schools nationwide.

“PMSA being recognized as a Blue Ribbon School is a testament to the hard work and dedication put in by all of the PMSA administrators, teachers and staff,” board President Nathan Wagner said in a statement. “But most of all, it is a testament to the determination and focus of the students who come from all over Proviso Township.”

PMSA Principal Bessie Karvelas, in her statement, acknowledged her students’ diverse dreams, such as becoming the next president, creating the first home to withstand a hurricane, and finding a cure for cancer.

“It is our job to make those dreams a reality; it is our job to develop the independent learner and provide an environment where meaning could be constructed collaboratively by students, faculty and staff,” she said.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will honor PMSA and other National Blue Ribbon Schools at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C., Nov. 7-8.

“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives,” DeVos said in a statement. “Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”


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