Heath Elementary earns prestigious Blue Ribbon award

Heath Elementary School Principal Laine Cooper sits with kindergartners in the school library Tuesday. Heath Elementary was the first school in the McCracken County district and the second school in the county to earn the National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

Heath Elementary School was one of five public schools in Kentucky and one of seven statewide to earn recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2021.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels.

Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed more than 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.

The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

Heath Elementary was chosen for its exemplary academic performance.

Heath Principal Laine Cooper said the Blue Ribbon award is a high honor the school and community should be proud of. It was the only school in western Kentucky to earn the distinction this year.

“I’m probably the most ecstatic I’ve been as a teacher and principal, both here at this school,” he said. “I feel like our school is very well deserving, and it’s awesome to see the U.S. Department of Education honor a school in West Paducah.

“Because there was no test data from 2020, they were looking from the 2019 school year. That year, our school was in the top 10% of the state.”

The honor marks the first time a school in the McCracken County School District has earned the award.

Other Kentucky schools to earn the award this year are Anchorage Public School, Blessed Sacrament Elementary (Fort Mitchell), Gamaliel Elementary (Gamaliel), Greathouse Shryock Traditional School (Louisville), Rosa Parks Elementary (Lexington) and Saint Henry District High School (Erlanger).

Other school districts in the Jackson Purchase region to earn the award and the schools and years they earned it are:

• Paducah: Clark Elementary, 1986.

• Graves County: Farmington Elementary, 2007; Central Elementary, 2017; Sedalia Elementary, 2010.

• Calloway County: Southwest Calloway Elementary, 2016.

• Marshall County: Central Elementary (Benton), 2014.

• Murray: Murray Elementary, 2019; Murray High School, 1984, 2015.

Follow David B. Snow on Twitter, @SunWithSnow, or on Facebook at facebook.com/sunwithsnow.

Follow David B. Snow on Twitter, @SunWithSnow, or on Facebook at facebook.com/sunwithsnow.

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