Our Lady of Victory School in Washington, D.C. was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education Sept. 19 as a recipient of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for 2023. A total of 353 schools were honored nationwide, with only 40 non-public schools honored.

This is the third National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for Our Lady of Victory School. It was previously honored in 2007 and 2016. It is the second archdiocesan school to win the award for a third time. Our Lady of Mercy School in Potomac, Maryland won the award in 2020, 2009 and 1998.

Our Lady of Victory’s Blue Ribbon designation marks the 50th time that a Catholic school in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has been singled out for this prestigious honor. (A complete list of past honorees is at the end of this article.)

“We are very proud of the Our Lady of Victory community for this outstanding achievement,”  said Kelly Branaman, secretary for Catholic schools and superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Catholic schools accounted for 36 of the 40 non-public schools honored this year.

“I’m appreciative that the United States Department of Education recognizes nonpublic schools alongside public schools in this distinctive honor,” Branaman said. “This allows Catholic schools across the county to demonstrate their excellence on a national level.”

This is the second honor earned this year by Our Lady of Victory School. In April, Lauren Harper, a fifth grade teacher there, was singled out as one of 10 archdiocesan Golden Apple Award winning educators.

In making the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the honored schools “set a national example for what it means to raise the bar in education.”

“The leaders, educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally,” he said. “We take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students, and engaging families.” 

The U.S. Department of Education issued a statement praising the Blue Ribbon winners and said the honor “affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement.”

Our Lady of Victory was one of only four schools – and the only non-public school – in the District of Columbia to garner the honor this year. The other schools were Benjamin Banneker Academic High School; Roots Public Charter School; and Washington Global Public Charter School.

Of the six public schools in the state of Maryland to be named a Blue Ribbon winner, only one –Stone Mill Elementary School in North Potomac – is located within the boundaries of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

According to Our Lady of Victory School’s website, 224 students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade there, of whom nearly 25 percent practice a religion other than Catholic. About 40 students – representing 16 different languages – have English as their second language. The school also educates about 20 students with diagnosed learning differences.

Our Lady of Victory students are annually ranked among the top 10 to 15 percent, nationally in reading and math, and 100 percent of its graduates are accepted to Catholic and independent high schools in the region.

The U.S. Department of Education formally will recognize the 313 public and 40 non-public schools at an awards ceremony at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 16 and 17, 2023. 

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program – established by the U.S. Department of Education in 1982 – honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools for their academic excellence and where students are performing at very high levels.

Here is the list of schools in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington that earned National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards:

Archdiocesan Catholic Schools

• Our Lady of Victory School, Washington, D.C. (2023, 2016 and 2007)

• Our Lady of Mercy School, Potomac, Maryland (2020, 2009 and 1998)

• St. Peter’s Catholic School, Olney, Maryland (2020 and 2012)

• St. Joseph’s Regional Catholic School, Beltsville, Maryland (2019)

• St. Raphael School, Rockville, Maryland (2019)

• St. Peter School on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. (2019 and 2013)

• Blessed Sacrament School, Washington, D.C. (2019 and 2012)

• Little Flower School, Bethesda, Maryland (2017 and 2008)

• St. John’s School, Hollywood, Maryland (2017)

• St. Peter’s School, Waldorf, Maryland (2017)

• Holy Trinity School, Washington, D.C. (2016)

• St. Patrick School, Rockville, Maryland (2016)

• St. Pius X Regional School, Bowie, Maryland (2016)

• Cardinal Hickey Academy, Owings, Maryland (2015)

• Our Lady of Lourdes, Bethesda, Maryland (2015)

• Holy Cross School, Garrett Park, Maryland (2013)

• St. John the Evangelist School, Silver Spring, Maryland (2013)

• Father Andrew White, SJ School, Leonardtown, Maryland (2012)

• St. Jane de Chantal School, Bethesda, Maryland (2011 and 1987)

• St. Bartholomew School, Bethesda, Maryland (2011)

• Mary of Nazareth School, Darnestown, Maryland (2011)

• St. Mary School, Rockville, Maryland (2011)

• St. John the Baptist School, Silver Spring, Maryland (2010)

• Holy Redeemer School, Kensington, Maryland (2009)

• St. Andrew Apostle School, Silver Spring, Maryland (2007 and 1989)

• St. Bernadette School, Silver Spring, Maryland (2003 and 2000)

• St. Camillus Catholic School, Silver Spring, Maryland (now St. Francis International School) (1996)

• St. Catherine Labouré School, Wheaton, Maryland (1993)

• St. Elizabeth School, Rockville, Maryland (1985)

Independent Catholic Schools

• Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Maryland (2001 and 1992)

• Academy of the Holy Cross, Kensington, Maryland (1997)

• Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Bethesda, Maryland (1992 and 1986)

• DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, Maryland (1990 and 1983)

• Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac, Maryland (1988)

• Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Washington, D.C. (1986)

• Elizabeth Seton High School, Bladensburg, Maryland (1984)