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**Top-Ranked North Branch Schools Recognized as State’s Finest**

North Branch Area Schools revealed the banners for Best in State during the school board meeting on March 11. Present at the event were Superintendent Jim Fish, RFMS Principal Dane Terauds, North Branch Elementary Principal Theresa Rae, and North Branch Elementary Asst. Principal Nikolas Hopp. The photo was captured by Ben Gagnon.

In North Branch, North Branch Elementary School and Ruth Fox Middle School (RFMS) have achieved recognition as top-performing schools in the state.

The recent announcement informed North Branch Area Schools (NBAS) that both the elementary and middle schools have secured positions in the top 40% of elementary and middle schools statewide, as per the 2023 school rankings by U.S. News and World Report. The district proudly displayed the Best in State banners from U.S. News during the board of education meeting held on Monday evening.

Earning a Best in State accolade from U.S. News necessitates students at a school to exhibit exceptional outcomes surpassing expectations in state math and reading assessments. RFMS excelled in math and reading proficiency, surpassing expectations, while North Branch Elementary achieved the expected level in reading and exceeded statistical expectations in math.

Principal Dane Terauds of RFMS attributed the school’s achievements to the unwavering commitment of teachers and support staff, along with the district’s implementation of comprehensive five-year learning strategies.

“It is truly a privilege to be acknowledged as one of the premier schools in the state. This recognition underscores the relentless efforts of our teachers and support staff in nurturing our students,” he expressed. “Our aim is to continue progressing and inspiring our students to strive for greater heights.”

Principal Theresa Rae of North Branch Elementary highlighted the significance of proactive planning and school-wide collaboration in meeting and surpassing academic standards.

“Our success hinges on teamwork and a collaborative approach to our initiatives,” she emphasized. “We prioritize grade-level planning to ensure teachers convene weekly, fostering alignment and coherence in our efforts. This collaborative spirit has significantly contributed to our accomplishments.”

Rae also noted that technological advancements have played a pivotal role in driving academic progress. NBAS currently operates as a 1:1 district, providing each student from first grade onwards with a Chromebook for educational purposes. Additionally, the elementary school features a SMART Lab offering AI and digital programming classes.

RFMS caters to students in grades 5-8, with a student population of approximately 730 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1. On the other hand, North Branch Elementary accommodates kindergarten through fourth grade students, totaling around 930, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1. The school also offers services such as Little Learners, a fee-based preschool program, and FABS daycare for students during non-school hours.