Viola and Melbourne School Districts have more to smile about as they start the new school year.
The Arkansas Policy Foundation, a non-profit and non-partisan research group based in Little Rock, has released information on Arkansas schools regarding how well they scored on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). The ITBS tests students on proficiency in math and language skills.
According to the foundation, economist Mark Witkowski "used ninth grade ITBS scores administered in 2007 to rank 244 districts. Ninth grade was the highest level at which the ITBS was administered in the 2006-2007 school year."
There were 18 K-12 public school districts that earned top scores (A or A-minus) in Arkansas. This score means that these schools are performing at or above average. Viola and Melbourne school districts were among these high achievers.
"We've been working pretty hard," Viola Superintendent John May said. "We've got a good group of kids."
Gerald Cooper, superintendent of Melbourne said, "I think (the score) validates what the teachers have been doing in the classroom." Cooper said everyone has been doing their part.
"I think (the score) is an indication that folks at Melbourne school have a high priority on academics," Cooper said.
In addition to the high scores on the ITBS, a Web site that ranks school districts throughout the nation based on math and English test scores ranked Viola as third, Salem as fourth and Melbourne as ninth in the state of Arkansas. The Web site is www.schooldiggers.com.