Arkansas school receives national recognition - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas school receives national recognition

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Brookland Middle School was awarded the Arkansas Diamond School's Watch Award Monday morning. The award originated in 2005 when Arkansas became a "Schools to watch" state.

It's an exemplary award for those schools who are performing extremely high academically, they're paying attention to the developmental needs of children, and social equity.

Dr. Jeff Hernandez, Principal of Brookland Middle School, says he and his staff are thrilled to be getting this recognition. "It' a great award for our community, students and especially our teachers who work so hard each and every day. We're thrilled to get it. It's a state award, it's also a national award. There's less than one hundred nationwide that have been given this. It's a great honor and we're just thrilled to have it. They've looked at the things we do and they've seen all the wonderful things going on in our middle school and they've granted us this award to we're thrilled."

Congressman Rick Crawford joined fellow representatives Monday morning to congratulate the students, faculty and staff. "This is a really big deal. There are only seven schools across the country recognized as Diamond schools. So, to have this honor is a great achievement for Brookland Middle School, the faculty, staff and students. They've all done a fabulous job."

Congressman Crawford says this good for the Region 8 area. "I think you're going to see a lot more eyes on Brookland Schools. They are doing a wonderful job and, you know, I live here in Jonesboro and I see what's going on and I really think Brookland is the next big thing with all the great things going on here."

Dr. Hernandez says his teachers are the true winners of the Diamond Award. "When you talk about me being proud it comes down to my teachers. And they work so hard each and every day. They're where the rubber meets the road. If they're not doing those great things in the classrooms then the things that are great are not as great. We've got a great administrative staff, our school board supports us."

Executive Director of the school watch program, Mona Briggs, is an educational consultant who works with schools in need of improvement. Briggs says the Diamond Award is not an easy recognition to receive. It takes a lot of hard, exemplary work. "It requires a school to really focus on it's best practice. In other words, a school that is a diamond school serves as a model school to any school in the state. We're hoping that Brookland will be one of those diamonds in the rough where people come and observe and teachers come and observe to see how Brookland teachers are working with all children to make sure they maximize their academic potential."

Dr. Hernandez couldn't be happier with the performance from his students and their teachers.

"It means we're on the right track and we're doing great things. And it means people are going to sit up and take notice of this community because there are great things going on here."

Briggs says it was their visit to Brookland Middle School that made her and fellow co workers realize that special things were taking place there.

"We really did see teachers that are working with all children Whether it be special needs, gifted education, all of them. They were putting into place programs, processes and strategies that we know reflect the latest in standard based instruction. Research based strategy and we also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt when we spent the day here that the teachers really did care about their kids. In other words, they were looking at the whole child. Obviously academics is important, but they nurtured children in all kinds of ways. It's the kind of school you'd want your own child to come to."

Around seventeen hundred and fifty students are in the district, and about three hundred and seventy-five attend the Brookland Middle School.

For more information about the Diamond Award, log onto their website.

For more information about the Brookland School District, you can log onto their website.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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