Two area schools, Salem and Melbourne, finished in the state's top 10 in academic ratings. The schools were notified Sept. 16 and are candidates for the Golden Apple Award to be given out at a ceremony Oct. 5 at the governor's mansion.
"We are very excited about this opportunity and proud of our students," said Salem Superintendent Ken Rich.
Rich said the Golden Apple Award is given by the Arkansas Department of Education and KHTV Channel 11 in Little Rock. This will be the first time the award is given.
According to the Department of Education, schools in the state are rated by how their students perform on standardized tests. The schools listed in the top 10 had the highest percentage of students who tested at proficient or above on the exams.
Those tests include the 4th, 6th and 8th grade Benchmark exams and the algebra, geometry and literacy end of year exams in high school.
School districts are ranked regardless of their population size.
Rich said the 10 schools on the list will each be featured on Channel 11 prior to the award announcement.
Melbourne Principal Kelly Powell said the district is honored by its finish in the top 10.
"This is a testament to the hard work and dedication the students, teachers and community have to this school," Powell said.
Rich said a news crew from Channel 11 visited the Salem and Melbourne campuses Sept. 20. He said he didn't know when Salem or Melbourne would be featured on Channel 11.
"It will either be Tuesday (Sept. 21) or Thursday (Sept. 23). Our kids and their parents won't be able to see it on TV, but they will be a able to see it online," Rich said.
He said at the Oct. 5 ceremony each of the 10 schools will learn in what order they finished. It will culminate with one school winning the award.
"It's a privilege and an honor to be placed in the top 10 in the state as far as academic ratings go. But a part of me hopes we finish high on that list on Oct. 5," Rich said.
The other eight schools which made the list are: Batesville, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Lakeside, Mountain View, Searcy, Valley View and Weiner.
Melbourne, Salem, Batesville and Mountain View are members of the North Arkansas Service Center Cooperative. The Cooperative area includes 14 other area school districts.