Schools in the Roanoke region and New River Valley earned awards for advanced student learning and achievement, Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Board of Education announced Wednesday.

The 2019 Virginia Index of Performance recognizes schools and school divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and other performance indicators.

This year, 270 schools and nine school divisions across the state won awards. The top honor in the program, the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, went to five schools in Northern Virginia.

Ninety schools won the Board of Education Excellence awards, the second-highest honor. To receive the award, the schools met all accountability benchmarks “and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by the board,” according to a news release.

The following area schools earned a board excellence award.

  • Crystal Spring Elementary and Grandin Court Elementary schools, Roanoke.
  • Penn Forest Elementary School, Roanoke County.
  • Gilbert Linkous Elementary School, Montgomery County.

Several area schools and divisions were also among a select group to receive the 2019 Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards. Each met all accountability benchmarks and made progress toward the goals of the governor and the Board of Education.

School divisions in Lexington and Roanoke County earned the award.

The following schools in the region also achieved the distinction.

  • Forest Elementary, Bedford County.
  • James River High, Botetourt County.
  • Lylburn Downing Middle, Lexington.
  • Blacksburg High, Montgomery County.
  • Snowville Elementary, Pulaski County.
  • Back Creek Elementary, Bonsack Elementary, Cave Spring Elementary, Cave Spring High, Clearbrook Elementary, Glenvar High, Green Valley Elementary, Hidden Valley High and William Byrd High in Roanoke County.
  • South Salem Elementary, Salem.

The state index of performance awards were established 12 years ago. In the spring of 2018, the board of education approved criteria for a new recognition program to replace the awards. The new program will include honors for high achievement, continuous improvement and innovative practices.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said the new program “will highlight the great work taking place in schools that may have not been recognized under the [Virginia Index of Performance] program.”

State officials will announce the first awards under the new system this summer.

Elks award scholarships

The Roanoke Elks Lodge No. 197 held a dinner May 16 for more than 100 local scholarship winners, and valedictorians from 17 local schools. Six local students each received $1,000 scholarships and three other students received also received scholarship funds.

Youth Activities Committee Chairman David Ross arranged the dinner and presented the scholarships. Roanoke Regional Partnership Executive Director Beth Doughty served as the keynote speaker.

Cave Spring Masons honor educator

The Cave Spring Masonic Lodge 230 honored Cave Spring Middle School English teacher Hillary Ruddell with the Don Garlock Educators Award and a $500 prize.

Lodge Master James John said the award is named for a 70-year member, and will be presented annually to a young teacher “focused on shaping the path of the next generation of students.” The lodge asked Cave Spring administrators to help nominate candidates, John said.

The inaugural award was presented last fall.

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