Center Hill Middle School

Center Hill Middle School has been named a National Red Ribbon School for student performance by the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of three Mississippi schools recognized.

A celebration will be held at some point in the near future, but a DeSoto County school has been pegged as a top school by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

Center Hill Middle School, 8756 Forest Hill Irene Road in Olive Branch, was named a Blue Ribbon School by the DOE. It is one of three Mississippi schools selected and 349 schools nationally that were chosen, 300 public schools and 49 private schools.

The Department of Education has had the National Blue Ribbon Schools program to honor excellence in education since 1982.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates.

The performance areas include Exemplary High Performing Schools, those that are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

The other performance area centers on Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools, which are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years.

In addition to Center Hill Middle School, Eastside Elementary School in Clinton and and North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi were chosen as National Blue Ribbon Schools by the DOE.

Center Hill Middle, which holds 825 students, earned selection as an Exemplary High Performing School. Larry Hood is the school principal.

“The National Blue Ribbon designation is an incredible honor for Center Hill Middle School and DeSoto County Schools,” said DCS Supt. Cory Uselton. “The faculty, staff, administrators, and students are very deserving of this award, and I am elated that their efforts are being recognized on the national level.  I also want to thank the Center Hill parents for their continued support of our school district.  This is a banner day for Center Hill Middle School and DeSoto County Schools.”

SCHOOL BOARD MEETS: At its most recent meeting on Thursday, the DeSoto County Schools Board of Education approved receiving bids to construct new classrooms at four DCS schools; Hernando Elementary School, Lewisburg Elementary School, Lewisburg Primary School and Oak Grove Central Elementary School. Allen & Hoshall will provide architectural services for the projects. Four new classrooms are being added each at Hernando Elementary and Lewisburg Elementary, while two new classrooms will be built at Lewisburg Primary and Oak Grove Central Elementary. Construction, after awarding bids on the projects, should begin in mid-to-late February with an expected completion date in July.

Board members also approved a request from boosters of the Hernando High School softball team to be able to upgrade the outfield fence at the diamond, with the boosters then donating the structure back to the school district upon completion.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

(1) comment


In thinking about the achievement gap, locally, it is useful to consider national trends in average test performance for students who have taken a widely recognized test, such as the SAT, for example.
As indicated in the table, the All Student average for SAT Critical Reading hasn't changed materially in recent decades— true as well for average scores of groups classified by race/ethnicity.

SAT Critical Reading average selected years
1987 '97 2001 '06 '11 2015

507 505 506 503 497 495 All students
524 526 529 527 528 529 White
457 451 451 454 451 448 Mex-Am
436 454 457 459 452 456 Puerto R

464 466 460 458 451 449 Oth Hisp
479 496 501 510 517 525 Asian/Pac
471 475 481 487 484 481 Amer Ind
428 434 433 434 428 431 Black
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 2. SAT mean scores of college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1986-87 through 2010–11 (Note. 2015 data source:

Local experience generally mirrors national experience. Given the effort, time and money expended during the same period, it seems reasonable to conclude that we shouldn't expect marked change in average performance in this critically important ability for any subgroup in the foreseeable future.

The $64 question: What if the achievement gap is here to stay

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.