SAUK RAPIDS - Rice Elementary and Mississippi Heights Elementary have been selected as celebration schools by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Celebration schools are recognized for their efforts to increase student achievement.

Celebration schools are the 25 percent of schools directly below the top schools in the state.

Sauk Rapids Rice Superintendent Daniel Bittman says the district is honored to be recognized.

Bittman adds that the district has emphasized equal opportunity for its students through things like free breakfast and increased access to technology.

This year, 22 schools in the state were recognized with celebration status. 143 schools applied for the honor.