HOUSTON (CW39) The United States Department of Education released its list of Blue Ribbon Schools on Friday, and four Houston-area schools made the cut.

Among them are St. Cecilia Catholic School, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, and St. Anne Catholic School.

Kerr High School in the Alief Independent School District also made the list — the only public school in the area to do so.

“It brings a sense of pride to the kids who are walking the halls and so it’s a good feeling.”

Kerr High School Principal Vinson Lewis

It’s not an unfamiliar feeling.

Look no further than the school’s drive through lane, and you’ll see the Education Department’s official seal along with the years 2010 and 2016.

The year 2022 can now be added.

 “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a school quite like Kerr anywhere,” said Kerr, a 27 year veteran in the education field. “We really help kids develop their freedom and responsibility to direct their own learning.”

That focus on an individual student’s pace of study is a big reason why Lewis thinks his school has been successful in its “overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups” as the Education Department lists its criteria for Blue Ribbon status.

He hopes other schools and school districts take notice for the benefit of all students.

“So when folks hear that you’ve won this national Blue Ribbon award, they want to come and see what is it you’re doing that’s so special,” Lewis said. “We’re not trying to keep this a secret.”