Nike Elementary School learned last week that it has qualified for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Gold Star program.

Dr. Terri Parks, Meramec Valley R-III assistant superintendent, made the announcement at the Jan. 17 school board meeting.

“We received a telephone call from DESE on Thursday telling us that Nike had earned the distinction,” Parks said. “It was a wonderful phone call.”

Nike is one of eight districts in Missouri to earn the status, which was based on student performance on the 2017 MSIP 5 Annual Performance Report (APR). A significant proportion of Nike students are considered economically disadvantaged.

In its announcement, DESE noted that students, faculty and staff worked together to earn the distinction.

“Their hard work reflects Missouri’s continuing effort to prepare all students for success in school and after graduation,” said Nancy Boles, DESE communication coordinator.

“It’s an outstanding accomplishment,” Boles said. “Nike was one of the top eight performing schools in Missouri based on English, language arts and math scores combined where students scored proficient and advanced.”

DESE uses the criteria set up by the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools program that was started in 1991 to recognize outstanding schools.

The eight Missouri Gold Star schools will be submitted to the Blue Ribbon program.

“Missouri aligned the Gold Star program with the national program,” Boles said. “It’s very selective.”

Parks said DESE will contact Nike this week to walk officials through the application process and time line.

The award recognizes schools that perform in the top 15 percent in the state based on assessment scores and graduation rates, or that perform at high levels while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students.

The U.S. Department of Education allows the states to submit eight schools for the Blue Ribbon program each year.