The "Exceed Schools" award recognizes the highest performing schools in Mississippi with poverty rates above 90 percent.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education’s 2011 data, 100 percent of the school's students are below the poverty line.
Brooks Elementary had a Quality Distribution Index rating of 161 last year, earning 18th place on the state list.
QDI ratings, determined by the Mississippi Department of Education, are based on scores received during the Mississippi Curriculum Test, the subject area testing of algebra I, biology I, English II and U.S. history, and the language arts and mathematics sections of the MAAECF.
Frederick Ford, current principal at Shelby Middle School, led the way last year as Brooks' principal, and was thrilled with the recognition.
"This is a wonderful example and sheds a shining light on the importance of education," said Ford. "This shows what good teaching, good leadership, good students and parental support can do.
"The award also sends the message that no matter where you are from, no matter what your background, you can succeed."
Ford was quick to pass the praise to others, commending the teachers and staff for making the award a reality.
New Brooks principal Cody Shumaker said the school would continue to strive for success.
"We will continue to build upon the things that we've done," said Shumaker. "If we were rated 18th after last year's results, there's no reason we can't keep moving up.
"I think the award speaks a lot to the type of students we have here. Our students are very open to learning and we have a very high attendance rate."
Forest Thigpen, president of the MCPP said that acknowledging poverty-stricken schools is of utmost importance.
“We want to recognize public schools that are helping low-income students perform well on our state tests each year,” said Thigpen.
Thigpen believes these schools raise the bar for achievement in all public schools.
“All students can learn, regardless of their background, and Exceed Schools prove that. We need public schools that do not accept poverty as an excuse for low performance.
“If a school with 100 percent of students in poverty can do well on the state tests, why should we accept low scores from schools with similar poverty rates? And if a high-poverty school can achieve such high scores, there is no excuse for schools with low poverty rates to score lower than that.”
This is the first year the MCPP has awarded Exceed School recognition to public schools in Mississippi.
A full list of Exceed Schools is available on its website, www.mspolicy.org.
The organization is one of the state’s leading advocates for education reform; including charter schools and A-F school ratings.
MCCP is an independent, nonprofit, public policy organization based in Jackson that works to promote and protect the concepts of limited government, free markets and strong traditional families.