Brownwood High School is one of 26 Texas public schools to win the prestigious Blue Ribbon School Award, the Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday.

The national award recognizes schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic and consistent gains in student achievement.

“These schools represent schools that excel, and many times against the odds,” Education Commissioner Robert Scott said. “Each of the Texas winners have at least 40 percent of the student body who come from economically disadvantaged families, yet they have risen to the challenge and are delivering a first-class education. I am proud of each of the these schools. They will be role models for other schools both in Texas and beyond.”

Principal Bill Faircloth said he and another representative from the campus will attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2-3.

“This is all about teachers and our kids,” Faircloth said Tuesday after the announcement was made on campus by Dr. Reece Blincoe, superintendent. “It’s one example of how wonderful our students are and how great a group of teachers we have. For every teacher, their No. 1 priority is that students come first.”

Of the 26 Texas schools named in Texas, seven – including Brownwood High – were honored for showing “dramatic academic improvement.”

“It’s nice to be recognized at this level for what our teachers and students are doing every day,” Faircloth said. “It’s my privilege just to work with them.”

Faircloth said the award is made based on academic progress over the past five-year period, a time during which extensive construction and remodeling has been under way at the campus.

“This is the first year (since 2005) that we don’t have any construction under way,” Faircloth said.

Blincoe congratulated educators and students at the high school in making the announcement.

“A huge congratulations goes out to the students, teachers and administrators at the high school,” Blincoe said. “What a fantastic job they’ve done over the past five years as we reached these tremendous gains that earned us this award.”

It is the second time this decade that a Brownwood campus has achieved the designation. Woodland Heights Elementary School was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2005.

Schools nominated for the recognition met one of two criteria: At least 40 percent of the school’s student body must come from disadvantaged background and students showed dramatic improvement in performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in reading or English language arts and mathematics; or the school’s students ranked in the top 10 percent in Texas on tests in reading or English language arts and mathematics.

In addition, Blue Ribbon Schools met adequate yearly progress targets in reading or English language arts and mathematics, were not identified as a “persistently dangerous” school within the past two years, and are in compliance with other U.S. Department of Education requirements.