The Salem School District finished fifth in academic rating and the Melbourne School District finished sixth among all Arkansas school districts during the 2003-2004, the Arkansas Department of Education announced Oct. 5.
"Finishing fifth in the state is pretty good," said Salem Superintendent Ken Rich.
The results were released during the Golden Apple Award ceremony at the governor's mansion. The Valley View School District was the overall winner.
The Salem student body was presented with an award for finishing fifth Oct. 6.
"The response from the student body was awesome," said Rich.
Melbourne Superintendent Gerald Cooper was ecstatic over Melbourne's finish.
"Sixth out of 300 schools is excellent. It shows how hard we've worked in this school district," he said.
School districts across the state were rated by how well their students performed on standardized tests. All school districts were assessed without regard to their student population.
The tests used were the 4th, 6th and 8th grade Benchmark Exams and the end-of-year exams in high school.
The 10 schools which had the highest percentage of students testing at a proficient level or above were candidates for the Golden Apple Award.
Several area educators said academic achievement is a top priority for schools and communities in northeast Arkansas.
Salem Principal David Turnbough said the Salem School District's finish is a result of parental and community involvement with the school district.
"We are very proud of how well we are doing. In this community we all care about our kids and their education," said Turnbough.
Seven of the 10 schools nominated for the Golden Apple Award are from north Arkansas. Two of those schools, Batesville and Mountain View, are a part of the North Arkansas Service Center Cooperative, along with Salem and Melbourne.
The cooperative area includes 14 other school districts.
The top 10 schools in order are, Valley View, Searcy, Bentonville, Lakeside/Garland, Salem, Melbourne, Batesville, Mountain View, Weiner and Fayetteville.
The Golden Apple Award is presented annually by the Arkansas Department of Education and KTHV Channel 11 in Little Rock.