The Academy of Technology and the Academy of Service and Technology in the Vilonia School District is among 19 public schools statewide to be designated as the 2011 Exemplary Schools by the Arkansas Department of Education, according to a news release this week.

Exemplary schools are those that demonstrate high student academic performance; schools with large populations of at-risk students with high academic performance; schools with high student academic progress; and schools with high populations of at risk-students with high academic progress. The designation is granted as a result of Arkansas’s flexibility request from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act through the U.S. Department of Education.

The Vilonia school is listed under the category of "High Performance Exemplary Schools."

Three years of Arkansas Benchmark and End of Course Exam results were used to calculate the average percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced for math and literacy combined for 2009-2011. That score is used to determine exemplary schools.

"The work of these students and the educators at these schools merit the distinction of being exemplary schools," Commissioner of Education Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. "The students have proven they are on track to being college, career and future ready by the time they graduate high school."

Exemplary schools may get more autonomy regarding state and federal funds and be exempt from certain annual plans and monitoring, according to the release. Representatives from exemplary schools will also be invited to share strategies and interventions with other schools.

To maintain exemplary designation, these schools must meet their math and literacy annual measurable objectives (AMOs) for the All Students group, the Targeted Achievement Gap Group (TAGG), all ESEA subgroups that have a minimum of 25 students and the graduation rate AMOs for the All Students group, Targeted Achievement Gap Group, and all ESEA subgroups that have a minimum of 25 students.