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.