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Armour, Kimball honored as Blue Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education named Armour High School and Kimball Elementary School as Blue Ribbon Schools for the 2017-18 school year Monday. The schools are two of the nine in South Dakota that received the award this year from the National...

The U.S. Department of Education named Armour High School and Kimball Elementary School as Blue Ribbon Schools for the 2017-18 school year Monday.

The schools are two of the nine in South Dakota that received the award this year from the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which is intended to recognize schools with high academic achievement or those that have closed achievement gaps among students. In total, 350 public and private schools across the country received the award this year.

Tim Mayclin, superintendent of the Kimball School District, said that the district found out that Kimball Elementary had been nominated for the award last October.

"We talked with the kids when we first got the nomination on how much of an honor it was just to be nominated and (about) the things they had to do to get the award," Superintendent Tim Mayclin of Kimball Elementary, the first Kimball school to ever receive the award.

Mayclin said that he thinks a combination of adjusting curriculum, high test scores and teamwork among staff members in the elementary school were all factors that contributed to the school winning the award.

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"I think we've just really got a really, really good staff. They push the kids, and the kids also know that they care about them, and they work really hard for the teachers," Mayclin said.

For the Armour School District, this is not the first Blue Ribbon award, as Armour Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008.

"We are extremely excited about this recognition. It highlights all the hard work that the teachers and students have put in over the years," said Andrea Powell, Superintendent at the Armour School District.

"Brad Preheim, our high school principal, will go to Washington D.C. for a special recognition in November representing our school."

The high school plans to hold its own celebration ceremony in November after Preheim returns from Washington. Details for the festivities are still being discussed.

To be considered to be a Blue Ribbon School, public schools must meet one of two criteria, according to the Department of Education's website. They either have to be an "exemplary high performing school" with some of the highest standardized test scores in the state in both the entire student body and various student subgroups or an "exemplary achievement gap closing school" that has more progress than most schools in the state when it comes to closing achievement gaps between student subgroups and students in the state as a whole. Each of these requirements can be measured in multiple ways, as outlined on the Department of Education's website.

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