POMONA — One Franklin County school has an opportunity for national attention.

West Franklin High School recently was recognized as one of five Kansas schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Program. It’s a great honor for the rural school, Dotson Bradbury, West Franklin school superintendent, said.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “Of the highlights as I reflect back on my current career, it has to be at the very top of the list. That is truly an incredible honor.”

The National Blue Ribbon program honors elementary and secondary schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap, recognizing schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have shown exemplary improvement to high levels of student performance in reading and mathematics, a release from the Kansas State Department of Education said. The program also recognizes schools in which students rank in the top 15 percent in the state on reading and mathematics assessments regardless of demographics.

“It is a pleasure for me to nominate these schools for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Program,” Diane DeBacker, education commissioner, said in the release. “The commitment the staff and communities of these schools have shown to helping all students achieve is to be commended. I congratulate them for their accomplishments and thank them for their continued efforts on behalf of our students.”

The nomination is evidence the students and staff at West Franklin have a level of commitment to education, Bradbury said, and he couldn’t be prouder of the first-time honor.

“We have a very dedicated, caring, nurturing staff that go the extra mile every day to try and create learning opportunities for every child,” Bradbury said. “The students are hardworking, highly motivated, good citizens, who strive to do their very best, whether it be in the classroom or participating in extracurricular activities.”

The U.S. Department of Education makes the final selection for the Blue Ribbon Schools Award. A decision is expected in September 2013.          

Eager to know which school will win, Bradbury said if it were up to him, West Franklin already would have taken home the prize.

Winning in September, he said, would mean bringing more awareness to the school and its successes.  

“It would be out of this world,” Bradbury said. “To be recognized on a national level as a Blue Ribbon school would be like winning the Super Bowl.”