Five Columbiana County school districts have earned high honors from the Ohio Department of Education.
The ODE announced this week 141 state schools earned the School of Promise distinction and 37 the High Performing Schools of Honor distinction.
The distinctions recognize districts that have sustained high academic achievement among their students, including many from economically disadvantaged homes.
The Columbiana School District was the only one in the county to be named a school of honor and the Crestview, East Palestine, United Local and Wellsville school districts were named schools of promise.
A district is given the school of honor distinction when it has a 90 percent or better average proficiency rate over a five-year period on the Ohio Achievement Assessment and Ohio Graduation Test.
Other criteria include a 75 percent proficiency level for four subgroups on the same tests, an annual measurable objective report card grade of A, B, or C and a progress grade of A, B, or C on the report card.
The district must also be Title 1 eligible and serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students.
The school of honor program expands upon the school of promise program and was approved by the U.S. Department of Education as part of Ohio's flexibility waiver for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2012, according to the ODE release.
The school of promise program was developed by the ODE to help close achievement gaps and recognizes schools attaining solid student achievement in reading and mathematics while serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students.
To be a school of promise a district must have a 75 percent or better average proficiency rate on the Ohio Achievement Assessments and the Ohio Graduation Tests for the 2012-13 school year, and a 75 percent proficiency rate in two subgroups.
Also required is an A, B, or C grade on the annual measurable objective for narrowing performance gaps between groups of students on the local school report card; an A, B, or C progress grade on the report card, and a graduate rate of A or B, according to the release.
They must also serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged children.
"Schools of Promise and the prestigious High Performing Schools of Honor are examples of what can happen when principals, teachers, parents and community members all believe that children can learn," Dr. Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction, said in the release.
He also said, "These schools overcome challenges, sometimes significant challenges, to provide a high-quality education to Ohio children. What they have done is working and I am urging them to help other Ohio schools learn how they can overcome their challenges as well."