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HSES and MBES re-designated as Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools

High Shoals Elementary School and Malcom Bridge Elementary School have both been re-designated Blue Ribbon as Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools. The schools received the news after successfully completing a rigorous process by national organization Blue Ribbon Schools for Excellence.


“Congratulations to the school communities at both High Shoals and Malcom Bridge Elementary Schools for receiving well-deserved re-designations as Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools,” said Superintendent Jason L. Branch. “These schools excel in student achievement, school climate, professional development, and fostering strong partnerships. Achieving this prestigious honor is a reflection of the sustained excellence demonstrated day-in and day-out at both MBES and HSES.”


The schools met the criteria for all nine categories in the Blueprint for Excellence assessment process. These categories are:

  • Student Focus and Support
  • School Organization and Culture
  • Challenging Standards and Curriculum
  • Active Teaching and Learning
  • Technology Integration
  • Professional Community
  • Leadership and Educational Vitality
  • School, Community, and Family Partnerships
  • Indicators of Success

The process to become a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School includes a written application, parent and staff surveys, and an on-site validation and review. Only around 250 schools nationwide have been recognized with this achievement since 2012, with four being in Oconee County – High Shoals Elementary (2nd time awardee), Malcom Bridge Elementary (2nd time awardee), Rocky Branch Elementary, and North Oconee High.   


“High Shoals Elementary School is honored and proud to be a two-time recipient of the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School distinction,” said Principal Jennifer Whitaker. “The recognition affirms the great work of our teachers and students and highlights the positive culture within our school. We are thankful for the support of our parents and local community who share our commitment to excellence and partner with us to achieve our goals.” 


“Congratulations to our Malcom Bridge Elementary School community for once again earning the designation of Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School,” said Principal Jennifer Haygood. “This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work of our students, their families, our faculty and staff, and our district office professionals all working together. In partnership, we seek to fulfill our mission – which is to provide a safe and challenging learning environment where we foster respectful, independent students who are confident in themselves as lifelong learners.”


Designation as a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School lasts for five years, at which time the school will be eligible for revalidation. Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools commit to sharing expertise and exemplary practices with other schools on a local, regional, and national level as well as providing mentoring and networking to schools seeking guidance and assistance in school improvement initiatives. 


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