Two area schools received the meritorious bronze award in a list of America's Best Schools for their academic performance recently.
Salem High School and Izard County Consolidated were recognized by U.S. News and World Report magazine for this award.
"I think it's just hard work by our staff, principals, teachers, students, and the support we get here in Salem from our community, all together, is what determined academic success for our school district," Salem superintendent Ken Rich said.
According to Izard County Consolidated principal David Harmon, less then eight percent of the high schools in the United States made the list.
The schools were analyzed using a three step system that compares academic data to determine where schools rank on the list, according to the magazine.
The first step compared the school's student performance with the rest of Arkansas' schools. "Our teachers and our students have really worked hard over the years to raise our test scores," Harmon said.
Only after passing the first step, step two compared the performance of the school's least advantaged students with similar students in the state.
"Sometimes a school will work hard with this group, or that group, and some students get left behind. We work hard to get all kids up to a certain level, and I think that is why we were recognized for this award," Harmon said.
The third step involved college readiness using advanced placement data as the benchmark for the success.
Only 1,491 out of 18,790 public high schools nationwide, based on 2005-06 data, were selected as gold, silver or bronze medal schools.
Only two schools in the state of Arkansas, Valley View in Craighead County and Dardanelle in Yell County, received the Silver Award. No schools received the Gold, according to the magazine.