“We have a covenant between the school and or community to educate and serve our students,” says Dr. Bob Iden, principal of Lake Highlands High School, which in May was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

The official announcement was made at graduation ceremonies in Moody Coliseum on the SMU campus. All the graduating seniors wore blue ribbons on their robes to celebrate this accomplishment.

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The award caps a five-year constant upward trend in both state and national assessments for all student groups. The most recent SAT results show LHHS students averaging 1083, topping both the Texas average of 992 and national average of 1020. Similarly, LHHS students scored 22.8 on the ACT, compared to an average of 20.3 for Texas and 21.0 nationally. SAT and ACT are college entrance tests.

In addition, RISD seniors earned $16.9 million in scholarships this year.

Lake Highlands now joins the other three RISD high schools that have previously received the Blue Ribbon status. In all, 15 RISD schools have received this prestigious honor.

The four Lake Highlands-area Blue Ribbon schools are Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet, Merriman Park and Moss Haven elementaries and Forest Meadow Junior High.

Other RISD Blue Ribbon schools are Big Springs, Bowie, Brentfield, Dartmouth, and Prestonwood elementaries, Parkhill and Richardson junior highs and Berkner, Pearce and Richardson high schools.

President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” plan, signed into law in January, will change the focus of the Blue Ribbon award program, making LHHS among the last recipients of this national designation.

The Blue Ribbon program used eight criteria to evaluate schools:

  • Student focus and support
  • School organization and culture
  • Challenging standards and curriculum
  • Active teaching and learning
  • Professional community
  • Leadership and educational vitality
  • School, family and community partnerships
  • Indicators of success

Schools must demonstrate excellence in all eight areas for all student groups over a three- to five-year time continuum. LHHS is especially committed to improving minority academic performance and participation in school activities.

Studies show that students involved in school activities perform better academically and get into less trouble. Although there are many student organizations, two clubs that have seen remarkable growth in recent years are Hispanic Pride and AIMS, the Association for Improvement for Minority Success.

The new Blue Ribbon system will only evaluate schools on academic performance and curriculum standards.

RISD is proud of the accomplishments of our students, teachers, staff and parents. We work hard to build a spirit of community in all our schools.