Columbus Unified High School is one of only five high schools recognized nationally as “Break Through Schools“ by the Met-Life Foundation and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Five middle schools were also honored.

CUHS Principal Steve Jameson received word of the honor last week.

“It confirms that we are doing positive things to help students be successful,” Jameson said Monday. “This is really an award for the whole high school faculty.

“They work hard and care for their students and work to do what‘s best for them.”

According to a release from the Met-Life Foundation and NASSP, the Breakthrough Schools program recognizes middle level and high schools that are high achieving or are dramatically improving student achievement and serve large numbers of students living in poverty.

Jameson said he applied for the honor several months ago, and was notified CUHS was a semifinalist in October.

“In October we had people from NASSP and Met-Life visit the school and confirm what we were doing,” he said.

Unified School District 493 Superintendent Dr. David Carriger said he was pleased with the honor as well.

“I think it‘s a nice honor,” he said. “It shows the accomplishments of the school over the past several years.”

Carriger said this award gives a better picture than state assessment numbers of what‘s really going on at the school.

“It‘s a better picture of what‘s really happening with the students,” he said. “It shows we do have great things going on in this district.

“These 10 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools have made incredible gains in academic achievement by providing rigorous instruction and personalizing their schools to meet the needs of each and every student,” said NASSP Executive Director Gerald N. Tirozzi said in the release. “I applaud the schools for their focused efforts and the principals of these schools for their leadership. We look forward to featuring them as models of success in the coming year.”

In addition to the honor, CUHS will receive a $5,000 cash award.

Jameson said it has not yet been decided how the money will be spent.

“Probably decided as a faculty who we can best use the money,” he said, adding he felt the school faculty should decided how the money is spent.

“It (has to) go to school improvement,” he said. “Maybe some program we already have or maybe a new one.”

CUHS will be honored along with the other schools at the NASSP national conference February 24-27 in San Fransisco, Calif.