BETHEL — Just as Telstar High School is winding up its 40th birthday celebration, Superintendent David Murphy learned that it received a bronze award from U.S. News and World Report.

The weekly news magazine cited the school for its above average reading and math test scores, for how well students who are economically disadvantaged have performed, and advanced placement test results.

“It’s a nice recognition for our school,” Murphy said.

Telstar received a bronze award, as did Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township, Katahdin Middle/High School, Fort Fairfield Middle/High School, and Waterville High School.

The only gold award in the state presented by the news magazine was to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. Four high schools, all located in the southern part of the state, received silver awards, according to the Web site.

Murphy said he believes his school received high marks, particularly for the higher than average performance by economically disadvantaged students, because the school is small. It has 285 students.

“The staff knows the kids and their families,” he said.

He e-mailed all staff members Friday with the news and announced it at Monday’s board meeting.

So far, he has not received official word from the news magazine, but learned of it through an individual who suggested that he check the Web site.

“Once we receive more information, we’ll be in a position to build on it,” he said of any future plans to honor the school, students and staff.

Nationwide, 100 high schools received gold awards, 461 received silver recognition, 1,189 were honored as bronze schools, and 37 received honorable mention. About 21,000 high schools were studied for the honor.

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