On Sept. 28, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced the 329 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2016. The award is based on the school's overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
Euper Lane Elementary School in Fort Smith was one of three Arkansas elementary schools recognized.
"Euper Lane (received this recognition) now because of the great teachers, the great parents, the great partners and of course the great students," said Sherri Penix, Euper Lane principal for 15 years and at the time of the nomination.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this award on fewer than 8,500 schools over the past 34 years. The 279 public and 50 private schools will be recognized at an awards ceremony Nov. 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C.
Schools were recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:
• Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
• Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's subgroups and all students over the past five years.
Euper Lane was recognized as an Exemplary High Performance School.
"I am just so excited for the teachers. They are just an excellent group, and they have all worked so hard for our students. This is an honor for them. They are being recognized," said Melissa Braddy, Euper Lane principal.
She added that the students should be very proud of the award because it proves their hard work paid off and their efforts were recognized.
"The administrators, the teachers, the students all worked together to support our mission. We are being recognized for that," Braddy said.
Euper Lane is a Title One School with 462 students.