August 27, 2013--Ellen Smith Elementary School in Conway has earned national recognition under the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The national program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement. District Superintendent Greg Murry said the award reflects the work of teachers, students and the district’s administration. Ellen Smith is the second Conway school to earn the Blue Ribbon title after Jim Stone Elementary achieved the status in 2011. Public schools in the Blue Ribbon program are considered based on one of two performance criteria: Exemplary high performing schools that are ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in reading and mathematics, and exemplary improving schools that have a student population of at least 40 percent from disadvantaged backgrounds that have made the most progress in improving student performance on state assessments in reading and math categories.