Ellen Smith Elementary School in Conway has earned national recognition under the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
District and Ellen Smith administrators were notified of the school’s new Blue Ribbon School designation from the Department of Education via email Tuesday.
The national program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement.
To be a Blue Ribbon school is the realization of the hard work of Ellen Smith Elementary students and teachers, said Principal DeLanna Lacy.
District Superintendent Greg Murry also said the award reflects the work of teachers, students, and the district’s administration.
Ellen Smith is the second Conway school to earn the Blue Ribbon title after Jim Stone Elementary achieved the status in 2011.
Both Jim Stone and Ellen Smith house kindergarten through fourth-grade.
Blue Ribbon Schools are invited to the arduous application process based on benchmark test scores.
Lacy said teachers met as a group in the “very rigorous” application process to collect and review data.
“To have our students and our teachers, our school district recognized along with Jim Stone Elementary is a goal we’ve had,” Lacy said. “We’re so proud of our students, teachers and district for being recognized for the outstanding leadership and academic excellence.”
Lacy, Assistant Principal Judy Greer, and other teachers will travel to Washington, D.C. in November to receive the Blue Ribbon award and attend a Department of Education ceremony.
In January, Ellen Smith Elementary will host a celebration for the district, parents, students and surrounding community.
Public schools in the Blue Ribbon program are considered based on one of two performance criteria: Exemplary high performing schools that are ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in reading and mathematics, and exemplary improving schools that have a student population of at least 40 percent from disadvantaged backgrounds that have made the most progress in improving student performance on state assessments in reading and math categories.
“It’s a community-wide award,” Lacy said. “It has taken all of us working together as a team to achieve the status that we have.”
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter at @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)