Nominated schools completed a rigorous application process. The Department recognized Bray as an "Exemplary High Performing" school based on state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Newly-appointed Bray Principal Dr. Denise Roache-Davis and third-grade teacher Bridgett Smith will attend the official award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. The Bray staff selected Ms. Smith to represent teachers at the ceremony. The Department will honor 219 public and 50 private schools.
"We are excited about winning the Blue Ribbon award," said Dr. Roache-Davis. "This validates the hard work the students, staff and parents have done over the years to maintain Bray's status as an exemplary school."
The Texas Education Agency has rated Bray Elementary "Exemplary" 12 out of the last 15 years. Sixty-two percent of its student population is on free or reduced lunch. One hundred percent of Bray's third- and fourth-graders passed the TAKS reading and math tests during the 2010-2011 school year.
The Cedar Hill school district started building an orchestra program after Bray Elementary started a string pilot program. The school used $10,000 of the Bray campus budget to purchase a classroom set of instruments. Through community donations, the school now has enough instruments for Bray students to perform a concert. Third- and fourth-grade students at Bray have one orchestra class per week of string instrument instruction. They receive an additional music class per week focusing on the K-4 general curriculum. The orchestra program has now expanded to the intermediate and middle schools.
Bray students also rank high on a national online math competition called Voyager Math (V-Math). Instead of playing video games, Bray students play math games and score. During the past year, Bray students have ranked as high as seventh in the nation in the V-Math competition.
Bray is one of 8 elementary and intermediate schools in the T.E.A. "Recognized" Cedar Hill Independent School District.