by Max Brantley
The U.S. Education Department today announced the 2012 list of Blue Ribbon Schools, recognized after an application process for five years of high performance on standardized test or for remarkable improvement. Public and private schools are recognized — 269 nationwide.
Those named in Arkansas this year, according to the DOE website:
* Forest Park Elementary in the Little Rock School District.
* Little Rock Christian Academy for its elementary school.
* Russell D. Jones Elementary in the Rogers School District.
Forest Park and LR Christian were cited for high performance; the Jones Elementary for its improvement.
The Little Rock School District explained Forest Park's selection in a news release:
.. Public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' achievement levels are honored by the National Blue Ribbons Schools program. Two areas of performance are recognized: "Exemplary High Performing" - recognized among their state's highest performing schools, measured by state assessments for nationally-normed tests; and "Exemplary Improving" - at least 40% of the schools' disadvantaged students demonstrate the most progress in improving achievement levels, measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
Top education officials from each state nominate schools for this distinction. This coveted recognition has been bestowed on nearly 7,000 of the nation's schools since the program's inception 30-years ago. The Department of Education will honor approximately 219 public and private schools at a recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. November 12-13, 2012.
The distinction comes for Forest Park as it celebrates another significant milestone - this year the school marks it 100th anniversary. A special centennial celebration marking the occasion will be held in October.