At last week's City Council meeting, Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a resolution "honoring Hill Freedman World Academy Middle School and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy for Winning the National Blue Ribbon School Award."

The resolution (PDF), which received full Council support, acknowledged that Hill Freedman (a magnet school for grades 6 through 8) and Norwood-Fontbonne (an independent pre-K through 8 school) fared well nationally in reading and mathematics.

They were among 333 schools chosen for the honor.

"Both schools exemplify hard work, academic excellence and strong community involvement," reads the resolution. "Winning this award signifies that the students, educators, families and the community have created a safe space where students can excel academically."

Their reaction

Hill Freedman Principal Anthony Majewski said the path to achieving "this great honor" has not been a particularly easy one.

"Despite being a special-admissions school, we still have very high expectations of ourselves. This award is a direct result of our amazing staff that does whatever it takes for kids," he told NewsWorks this week. "It is also a testament to our parents who push their children to be scholars. And finally, our students are simply amazing. They collectively deserve this award."

Norwood-Fontbonne Head of School Sister Mary Helen Beirne said the school community was thrilled by the honor, which she chalked up to "exceptional teaching" and, among other things, parents being engaged in the educational process.

"We know that excellence is not something that is achieved, but rather something that is consistently maintained," she said. "We are truly proud that our 94-year commitment to excellence has been recognized in this way.

"Our children and our families are 'blue ribbon' people. As Philadelphia's oldest Catholic, independent elementary school, NFA abounds with life each day, empowering students to lead, learn and serve."