2021 School of Distinction

2021 School of Distinction

2021 School of Distinction

Academy of Holy Angels is One of 59 Schools Worldwide to Receive School of Distinction Honor

Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) is honored to announce that we've been named a 2021 School of Distinction by Cognia, a global education accreditation agency. AHA was one of just 59 schools worldwide to receive this honor and achieved ratings that were nearly 100 points over the five-year average of all schools who were assessed. Of the 1,200 schools hosting reviews, AHA is the only K-12 school in Minnesota to receive the School of Distinction honor.

Father Michael Tix, Board of Trustee Chair, stated, “This recognition highlights the accomplishments of our community that exist from the Board and school leadership, faculty and staff, parents, students and alumni. There are many people who make Holy Angels an exemplary Catholic high school, and all are the beneficiaries of this honor. This is a community award that should be celebrated by all.”

Since the school’s founding in 1931, Academy of Holy Angels has consistently gone through the accreditation process approximately once every five years. Although this is not a requirement, the process remains a top priority for school administration. According to Principal Heidi Foley, “It is important for us to receive confirmation about the good work that we do from an unbiased and professional organization outside of AHA. It holds us accountable to our families, to one another. It ensures our entire system aligns - from our mission to each student’s experience here. In simple terms, being named a School of Distinction feels great.”

From August 2020 through February 2021, Principal Foley, with input from leadership, led the accreditation process internally. The extensive preparation and collection of data was then reviewed by a team of outside educators from Cognia who also visited the school. The initial results and feedback from Cognia were presented to the entire Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff in the spring of 2021.

The Cognia Engagement Review Team observed many strengths at Academy of Holy Angels; however, five themes stood out as key:

  1. The schools' governing body and leadership team provide clear strategic and organizational direction to support teaching, learning, and resource management effectively.
  2. Data is consistently collected to monitor student achievement, curriculum alignment, and to adjust instruction.
  3. The school provides equitable opportunities for all students to achieve the academic and personal growth goals of AHA through systems that provide academic support and guidance for college and career planning.
  4. School leaders foster operational processes and procedures that ensure effectiveness in support of teaching and learning.
  5. The school has an established supervision, evaluation, and mentorship process, and it ensures all staff members have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to improve student learning.

“This recognition as a School of Distinction validates our efforts system-wide as we aspire to be a leader in values-based, college preparatory education in the Twin Cities metro area,” said President Tom Shipley. "I am proud of our dedicated faculty, staff, and Board who have created a culture that fosters a commitment to learning in addition to the social and emotional development of each student.”

Cognia standards focus on school improvement, assessment, student engagement, effective learning environments, and data use. Cognia serves 36,000 public and private institutions from early learning through high school in more than 85 countries. “Congratulations to {Academy of Holy Angels] for demonstrating excellence in education. Having earned the School of Distinction recognition, each of these institutions provides evidence of growth in learning, maintains a healthy culture for learning, supports engaging and high-quality instructional environments, and demonstrates effective leadership for learning,” said Cognia President and CEO Dr. Mark A. Elgart.