St. Mary’s Dominican High School Named a Cognia® School of Distinction

At the presentation of the Cognia® School of Distinction award are (from left) St. Mary’s Dominican High School Assistant Principal Dr. Lindsay Huber, Vice President/Principal Carolyn Favre, retired Assistant Principal Patricia Byrne, Cognia® Director of Southeast Region Christy McCreary, and President Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas, O.P.A.

St. Mary’s Dominican High School has been named a 2023 Cognia® School of Distinction for excellence in education. The Cognia® award presentation followed the annual Mass of the Holy Angels at Dominican. The recognition was based on the results of Cognia’s rigorous Accreditation Engagement Review process. With over 1,100 engagement reviews for accreditation completed in the 2022-2023 school year, Cognia® recognized 25 schools and eight systems in 12 states and five countries with this distinct honor.

“We at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, are extremely excited and honored to be recipients of this prestigious recognition from Cognia!” said Carolyn Favre, Dominican’s Vice President/Principal. “This award validates our commitment to continuous improvement, and it is wonderful to have our efforts recognized. St. Mary’s Dominican High School has been accredited since 1927, and we continue to recognize the importance of a self-study process which ensures that we engage in continuous school improvement. During the study, every aspect of the school community is evaluated, from our Dominican Catholic Identity, from our governance and structure to our academic program and our extracurricular offerings and programs. Our Leadership Team, administration, faculty, staff, students, and parents are all  engaged in the self-study, offering input in various areas. It is a collaborative effort by all constituencies to affirm that we are serving  the Dominican Catholic educational mission, spiritual, physical, social, and emotional needs of our students we serve today. The self-study process revolves around continuous school improvement, and we are committed to this process. Participation in the study, although quite exhausting at the time, assists us in strategic planning, evaluation, and implementation of current best practices and sound pedagogy in all areas for the next six years. This sustains a tradition of excellence – our Dominican Catholic tradition!”

“I am pleased to congratulate St. Mary’s Dominican High School for their designation as a 2023 Cognia® School of Distinction, a program which recognizes public and non-public institutions that exemplify excellence in education and service to learners,” said Dr. Mark A. Elgart, President and CEO of Cognia®. “Dominican is to be commended for earning the designation as a School of Distinction. Cognia® Accreditation is already a mark of school quality recognized around the world. Being named a School or System of Distinction further acknowledges the demonstrated commitment to education quality and a mindset of continuous improvement Dominican has for its learners.”

During the 2022-2023 school year, Dominican participated in Cognia’s rigorous Accreditation Engagement Review process, which is grounded in research-based performance standards. The process includes a third-party review of evidence by education experts, interviews, and classroom observations. The review evaluates institutions and seeks evidence of growth in learning, a healthy culture for learning, engaging and high-quality instructional environments, and effective leadership for learning – all characteristics Cognia® expects to see in quality schools that also demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.

For its Global Network member institutions, Cognia® offers an opportunity to earn designation as a school or system of distinction in the year in which an accreditation engagement review is held. Unlike the typical six-year accreditation cycle, this program recognizes institutions that host a Cognia® Accreditation Engagement Review within the recognition year and winners carry the designation for one year. Cognia® is dedicated to helping institutions and other education providers grow learners, teachers, and leaders. It offers accreditation and certification, assessment, and improvement services within a framework of continuous improvement. Serving 40,000 public and private institutions from early learning through high school in more than 90 countries, Cognia® brings a global perspective to advancing teaching and learning.