Frazier Primary reaching for Blue Ribbon status

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2001

NATCHEZ — Frazier Primary School is striving to be classified as one of the best schools in the country.

The school’s staff has decided to apply for Blue Ribbon School status, a national recognition awarded to the country’s best schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

Frazier Principal Demetria Reed said the staff has considered applying for several years and decided that the school was ready this year.

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&uot;We just have a commitment, and we believe we will be able to show we have an exemplary program here at Frazier Primary,&uot; she said.

The Blue Ribbon Schools program examines all facets of a school and one of its main requirements is test scores, Reed said.

&uot;So we had to work to increase our test scores across the board,&uot; Reed said.

On the two occasions, Frazier students took the Terra Nova standardized test they improved by 7. 5 points, Reed said.

This year, they are hoping to make another 10-point gain or to maintain continual improvement in test scores over a three-year period, Reed said.

The program also takes into account community and parental support, quality school facilities and research-based educational programs, Reed said.

Since the Blue Ribbon Schools program began in 1982, 3,982 elementary and secondary schools have earned the recognition.

During 2000-2001 award period, 264 public and private elementary schools received Blue Ribbon status. Six of those schools are located in Mississippi.

If Frazier earns the honor, Reed thinks it will speak highly of the teamwork between the school’s teachers, staff and parents.

&uot;Everyone had to gel together to make it work,&uot; she said.

Reed thinks the school has reached a point where it could pass the application phase of the Blue Ribbon School Program.

But even if it is not accepted, the school will still benefit by going through the process.

&uot;Because your school improves by just going through and looking with a fine-toothed comb at every area at your school,&uot; Reed said.

If a school doesn’t apply, it never knows if it performing on the Blue Ribbon School scale, she said.

If the school earns this honor, Reed thinks it will also speak well to the memory of the school’s former principal and namesake, Joe Frazier.

&uot;I knew Mr. (Joe) Frazier, and he was a man who also strived for excellence,&uot; Reed said. &uot;And it’s just my feeling that he would be very pleased to know that something he worked hard to produce came about.&uot;

The school staff will begin working on their application in January and it is due in November. If the application meets Blue Ribbon standards, the next phase will be a site-visit from Blue Ribbon officials in the spring of 2003, Reed said.

Once a school receives Blue Ribbon status, it maintains the distinction for five years and then must be reevaluated, Reed said.