North Mississippi school nominated for major award - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Chip Washington

North Mississippi school nominated for major award

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - Inside the walls of Center Hill Elementary in rural Olive Branch is a school that strives for academic excellence daily. This year, that excellence has garnered a major award.

The school was one of only four selected, and the only school in DeSoto County, to be nominated by Mississippi's State Superintendent of Schools as a Blue Ribbon school.

Principal Rebecca Dearden was thrilled by the recognition.

"I feel honored...excited," principal Rebecca Dearden said. "It's validating what we're doing is working."

Dearden said high test scores were a determining factor in her school receiving the award.

"This year, fifth grade was number one in science, number two in math, number three in language arts," she said. "Plus, fourth and third grades had extremely high scores."

Dearden said Center Hill's test scores have placed in the top 10 percent statewide in Mississippi for the past five years.

Counselor Jennifer Martindale, who came from the Tippah County School District two years ago, said parental involvement is a major positive at Center Hill.

"They're being involved with the parents," she said. "They send home weekly, daily correspondence with the parents getting them involved. They have high expectations of the children here."

According to district officials, four Mississippi schools to won the award last year, but none from north Mississippi. The names of the schools awarded the Blue Ribbon awards for 2009 will be announced in September.


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