Bell Central middle school ranked second in the state

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2019

It was a day of celebration at Bell Central School Center Tuesday afternoon.

Students, teachers and staff gathered in the gym to celebrate the elementary school being rated a three star school in the state of Kentucky and the middle school receiving the rating of a five star school. The middle school is number two in the state academically.

“We are ecstatic,” Principal Jennifer Blankenship said. “We love our kids, we believe in our kids. There was no doubt that they could do this.”

Blankenship explained that she told the students on their end of the year video last year to show them what they know.

“Boy, did they show us what they know,” she said as she laughed. “We tell our students they are more than a test score and we feel that truly in our hearts. They are phenomenal. I just love these kids, they are great. We are just so tickled.”

She attributes the scores to the relationships at the school between the faculty, staff and students.

“Our faculty and staff make sure that our students know that they are loved, that they are cared for, we buy into them,” she explained of the relationships built at the school. “We go to ball games and see them. We go to see them graduate when they are seniors at the high school. We are there supporting them because once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog. That is what we believe.”

Blankenship detailed how the schools are given their ratings and how they are placed within the states.

“We get a score in proficiency which is reading and math scores,” she said. “Then we have separate academic indicators. Those will be your science, social studies and writing scores. That is how we get our index and they add our growth into it.”

She said that as high as Bell Central was in middle school growth, the elementary school had very high growth as well.

“They are showing what they know each year and they are learning more things,” she continued to explain how the star ratings work. “You have the five-star system, which is based on if you have gaps between your groups that are performing. Your attendance is included.”

She explained that they take those different areas and put them together to get the five-star rating.

“So, technically you can still be second in the state and be a four star,” she said as a huge smile came across her face, “But we are second in the state and a five star.”

Although they came second in the state, she told the students that in their eyes they are first.

“We came in second in the state but in our eyes, we are first in the state,” she said. “The school we came in second to is a magnet school in Lexington. The students are 100% gifted and talented students. They have to apply to attend there in the creative and performing arts.”

She said in comparison to Bell Central School Center’s 80% reduced and free lunches, the magnet school has 7%.

“Bell Central School Center has just proven that it doesn’t matter where you are at in the state of Kentucky, when teachers care about you and students believe in themselves, great things can and will happen and that’s all you have to have.”