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The top-performing schools in Crittenden County belong to the Marion School District, according to the latest ESSA School Index scores released last week by the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The scores, which are part of the annual accountability reports released by the state, are based on student achievement and growth, graduation rates, and other indicators that measure student learning.

The scores show that Marion has the county’s highest-performing high school, junior high school, and elementary school. Of the 10 elementary schools in the county, Marion has three of the top five highest-scoring schools. The top ESSA Index score of any school in the county also belongs to Marion – Herbert Carter Global Community Magnet.

Additionally, when looking at the Weighted Achievement Score, the part of the ESSA index that measures student academic attainment in English, language arts, and mathematics, all five Marion School District schools showed improvement from 2021 to 2022.

“We are incredibly proud of all our schools for the results we are delivering in student growth -- it shows the efforts our teachers are putting forth across our school district are working,” said Marion Superintendent Dr. Glen Fenter. “Students are learning. They are growing. In the wake of the profound learning loss that occurred in schools across the country during the pandemic, this is encouraging to see.”

The Marion School District also learned last week that Marion High School will be one of only 100 schools in Arkansas (out of more than 1,000) to earn reward money from the state as a result of student achievement gains on 2022 standardized tests. MHS will be receiving $42,550 as a result of ranking in the top 10% of Arkansas schools for student growth. The funding comes through the Arkansas School Recognition Program, created in 2017 as part of the state legislature’s incentive program for public schools.

“Contrary to the negative perceptions created by the state’s controversial practice of assigning letter grades to schools, this latest recognition is consistent with our persistent contention that if we could simply be measured against schools with similar demographics, our Marion schools would be recognized as performing incredibly well,” Fenter said. “I am extremely proud of our teachers and students and continue to be amazed at the great things they are accomplishing.”

The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit or call 870-739-5100.