REED CITY — The Family Night Program at Godfrey T. Norman Elementary School at Reed City has been named one of the top three schools in the state in the Community Relations category for the 2011 Education Excellence Awards.

Organizer of that program, Vicky Bowman, was honored at a special luncheon at Eagle Eye Golf Club at Bath on May 17, receiving a trophy and special sign on behalf of the school. Seventeen others from the Reed City School District attended the event which honors exemplary school programs from throughout the state.

Norman Elementary will now be judged in that category along with two other school programs including the Superstar Family Nights at Anderson Elementary, part of Bronson Community Schools, and a program called Getting to the Root of it All, a program at Southfield Public Schools.

Bowman said the process actually started around Christmastime, when the Michigan Association of School Boards recommended to superintendents throughout Michigan “to send information about their great programs and I was asked to do Family Night. We recently learned we were one of the top three in the state in the Community Relations division.”

Those three continue on in the competition to the final phase, and the one to be judged as the first place winner of the three will receive the prestigious Michigan’s Best Award at the MASB’s fall conference.

In addition, that first place ranking will include a check for $1,500 to help enhance and maintain the program, along with a trophy symbolizing the honor.

Both the sign and trophy Bowman received on behalf of Norman are displayed in the hallway next to the office. She said the sign could be located at the school or in another prominent location, and the trophy is on display in the school’s trophy case.

The Education in Excellence Awards began in 1994 in an effort to help create public awareness of “great things happening in classrooms across the state.”

In 2000, the Michigan Association of School Boards invited SET SEG School Insurance Specialists to partner with it “in celebrating school excellence.”

Hundreds of programs were entered in several categories, including Before and After School Programs, Health and School Safety, Community Relations, Improving Student Achievement for At-Risk and Special Education Students, Community Relations, and Creative and Media Arts.

Additional categories include Improving Student Achievement for English Language Arts and Social Studies, Improving Student Achievement for Math and Science, and School Improvement/Professional Development.

The categories for the 2011 Education Excellence Awards in intermediate school districts included Special Education and Staff Development.