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Select Missouri Schools Celebrate Highest Academic Achievement

Blue Ribbon Award
Photo credit: US Dept of Education

Nine Missouri schools have been awarded the National Blue Ribbon award by the U.S. Department of Education. The program, which recognizes significant academic achievement in public and private settings, includes four local schools this year. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

High performing schools must rank among the best in their state to be considered for the designation, said to be the highest honor for academic achievement in the U.S. In Missouri, Bolivar High School was among those to earn the National Blue Ribbon award due in part for their student’s high marks in communication arts and math on the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, tests. Dr. David Geurin is the school’s principal.

“Academic achievement is our number one thing. We want our students to be prepared for life and just to learn at high levels. And this award is just a confirmation of the great work that our teachers and students are doing in the classroom,” Geurin said.

Geurin also cites his school’s focus on higher education, noting that they offer 17 different duel credit programs, with some students earning upwards of 30 college credit hours before graduating high school.  

“Certainly we recognized that students are doing some great work in the classroom, and the work ethic that is just in our community – just kind of that small town, get it done philosophy – is present with our students.”

Locally, Bolivar was joined by Nixa, Spokane and Willow Springs high schools in receiving the award. Nixa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Kleinsmith called it a necessary step “in pursuit of becoming a world class school system.” Nixa has scheduled a celebration for 1:45 p.m. Friday at Eagle Stadium. Principal Geurin says his school is planning a couple of recognition events for next month.

Once nominated for the National Blue Ribbon award by Missouri’s commissioner of education, schools then go through an application process. Those who have been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education will be allowed to send representatives from their school to Washington, D.C. in November for an awards ceremony.