Bethel Park High School

Bethel Park High School earned a Blue Ribbon status from the Department of Education.

Bethel Park High School has been selected as a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona made the announcement during his Road to Success Back to School bus tour. He recognized BPHS and 296 other schools from throughout the nation as National Blue Ribbon Schools. The distinction is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The honor is confirmation of the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

“I applaud all the honorees for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams,” said Secretary Cardona. “As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, we know that our future will only be as strong as the education we provide to all of our children.

“Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools in two categories: Exemplary High Performing Schools, or those schools that are among a state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests; and, Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools, or schools that have made significant progress in closing achievement gaps between subgroups and all students over the past five years.

Bethel Park High School has been recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School.

“We are humbled to be named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Bethel Park High School Principal Joseph Villani.

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work and commitment to success from all members of our school community including our dedicated teachers and staff members, our determined administrators, and our outstanding students; combined with the unwavering support of our families and stakeholders.

“This national recognition affirms our work and the course we are on and further aligns with our motto: ‘Built on Tradition, Focused on the Future.’ While we are extremely grateful for this honor, we remain committed to bringing continued success to everything we do at Bethel Park High School.”

In 2022, BPHS had a 99 percent graduation rate with 91 percent of graduates enrolled in post-secondary institutions or apprenticeships. Approximately nine percent enlisted in the military or entered the workforce.

In the Keystone tested subjects, over the past four years, the composite scores of Bethel Park students have risen by a minimum of 5 percent in the core areas of math, science and English. That dramatic improvement along with other achievements in standardized tests and student supports played a significant role in this recognition. It also contributed to a rise to No. 14 in the Pittsburgh Business Times’ most recent rankings of all area schools.

BPHS offers numerous rigorous courses, including 19 advanced placement (AP) courses, 13 college and high school (CHS) offerings and 32 honors courses.

Beginning with the 2021-2022 school Year, BP has partnered with the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI) to encourage more student involvement in AP instruction and assessments. In 2022, 168 students chose to take AP exams with a total of 299 tests, a 30 percent increase over the previous year. Of those exams, 74.4 percent of students earned a qualifying score, a 3.4 percent increase from 2021.

“This is indeed a tremendous honor for the entire community: to have our flagship school honored nationally speaks to the great commitment of this community to a ‘Best in Class’ education. I am extremely proud of the administration and faculty, and most of all our students, for earning this incredible distinction for all of Bethel Park,” said Superintendent Dr. James Walsh.

With its 39th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed awards to approximately 9,000 schools nationally since 1982. In 2022, Bethel Park High School joins Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia to become just the 36th and 37th Pennsylvania high schools to receive this distinction.

The U.S. Department of Education will honor all 2022 recipients at an awards ceremony to be held Nov. 3-4, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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