MHS Only Kentucky High School Nominated for Ntl. Blue Ribbon Award

Given annually to 340 public and private schools

by John Wright-Murray Ledger

1/21/2015 10:03:26 AM

News Image JOHN WRIGHT • Staff Writer | 0 comments Murray High School Principal Teresa Speed said Thursday that she is very proud that her school was the only high school in Kentucky to receive a nomination from its education commissioner for a national award. However, she quickly pointed out that the performance of every school in the Murray Independent School District made this possible. “In fact, we wouldn’t even be on the radar if that wasn’t the case, not for something like this,” Speed said, three days after being notified that Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday had submitted MHS for consideration to be a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School from the United States Department of Education. “From what I’ve learned, one of the reasons for this is that we have been a School of Distinction (for statewide Unbridled Learning testing) three years in a row, but the performance of our entire district is what gets us looked at all. “Here, any award or recognition like this really is a team effort. It’s the whole picture, where everybody works for the same thing and that’s helping our kids learn to the best of their abilities.” This comes after MISD finished as the No. 3 overall school district for the Unbridled program in scores released this past fall. Murray Elementary finished No. 1 among elementary schools, while MHS was ninth for high schools and Murray Middle was 12th in that category. MHS has also been strong in graduation rates, having all of its seniors earn diplomas two years ago and about 97 percent last year. This was after the state’s dropout age was raised from 16 to 18 during the 2013 Kentucky General Assembly. MISD was in the first wave of districts to sign on as a supporter of the measure. Speed also revealed that 13 of her students have met stringent criteria for nomination to the annual Governor’s Scholars Program. That is the most since 14 were eligible about 20 years ago, it was reported. “It’s like MISD Superintendent Bob Rogers has told me over and over ... these kinds of things are expected here,” said Speed, who is in her 13th year as principal. “When you’re at the top, you’ve got to stay at the top.” The Blue Ribbon honor is given to 340 public and private schools annually. The program was started in 1982 and is based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Since its inception, the Blue Ribbon Schools program has recognized almost 7,900 schools. This year’s selection will happen in September with a recognition ceremony scheduled for Nov. 10-11 in Washington. Beechwood High School of Northern Kentucky won the honor in 2013.