National Blue Ribbon 2013 – 11 Maryland schools

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Tuesday announced the names of 286 schools identified by the department as the National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2013.

Schools were selected for this honor based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement.

“Excellence in education matters, and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” Mr Duncan said in a press release. “National Blue Ribbon Schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

Fifty private schools were among the awardees this year, including five from Maryland. Unlike public schools, which are nominated by the top education official in each state, private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. Mr Duncan’s office then requests applications from each of the nominated schools—and quite an extensive application, I might add—for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private schools. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policymakers in thousands of communities. Since the program’s founding, the US Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on more than 7,000 of America’s schools.

List of Maryland’s National Blue Ribbon 2013 schools

Boonsboro High School
Washington County Public Schools
Principal: Mrs Peggy Pugh

Century High School in Sykesville
Carroll County Public Schools
Principal: Mr Randy Clark

Chadwick Elementary School in Baltimore
Baltimore County Public Schools
Principal: Mrs Bonnie Hess

Charlesmont Elementary School in Baltimore
Baltimore County Public Schools
Principal: Ms Marsha Ayres

Folly Quarter Middle School in Ellicott City
Howard County Public School System
Principal: Mr Rick Wilson
See coverage in the Baltimore Sun, here.

Holy Cross Catholic School in Garrett Park
Archdiocese of Washington
Principal: Mrs Lisa Maio Kane
Coverage of the announcement in the Gazette is here.

Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville
Montgomery County Public Schools
Principal: Dr Joey Jones

Saint John the Evangelist School in Silver Spring
Archdiocese of Washington
Principal: Sister Kathleen Lannak (website)
News from the Archdiocese of Washington is here.

Saint Joseph School in Cockeysville
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Principal: Mr Terrance Golden

Saint Margaret School in Bel Air
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Principal: Mr Madeleine Hobik

Saint Mary’s Elementary School in Annapolis
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Principal: Mrs Rebecca Zimmerman
News release for the above three schools from the Archdiocese of Baltimore is here.

More information from the Maryland State Department of Education

Chadwick Elementary, a Title 1 School, is a high achieving school with a diverse student population; 78 percent are classified as economically disadvantaged. Almost 25 percent of the students qualify for English Language Learning services. Yet students are outperforming many schools with a similar percentage of Title I and ELL students and 98.9 percent of Chadwick students in grades 3-5 scored proficient or advanced in reading, and 100 percent were proficient or advanced in mathematics. Chadwick maintains its high achievement, having received the Maryland Title I Distinguished School Award in 2009. The school was also selected as a Distinguished Highest Performing Reward School for the years 2009-2011. It is also a professional development school with Loyola University. Its MESA Team placed first in Baltimore County competitions at the elementary level, and most recently participated in the Maryland State MESA competitions. In addition the school sponsors ELL Homework Helpers, Math Club, Math 24 Challenge, and Cup Stacking Clubs.

Charlesmont Elementary, a Title 1 School, (coverage on WBAL-AM, NBC affiliate) demonstrates high achievement with MSA scores of 98.7 percent proficient or advanced in math and 97.5 percent in reading. The school has 65 percent of the students classified as economically disadvantaged. The school has increased rigor through 100 Book Challenge Reading, Research Lab Writing, FasttMath/Fraction Nation online Math, STEM Fair yearly competitions, and the after school Overachievers Program that promotes social and academic behaviors. As a partner for three years in the Alliance for Healthy Schools program, student, teacher, and parent involvement has been instrumental in promoting healthy food choices, physical activity, and student decision making. The school has successful monthly Parent Involvement activities to promote collaborative learning. The school has been recognized by the Friends of Fort McHenry/War of 1812 Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the Southeast Foundation for the Arts Program which has enabled students to make personal connections to historical and cultural arts events in the local community.

Folly Quarter Middle School excels with 99 percent of its students proficient or advanced in math and 93 percent in reading on the MSA exams; 67 percent scored advanced in math and 77.3 were advanced in reading. And for the fourth time in the past five years, 100 percent of Folly Quarter students who took the Algebra HSA passed this high school graduation requirement. In addition, over 98 percent of 8th grade students again passed the science MSA. In an article this year, the Baltimore Sun placed Folly Quarter as the “top ranked middle school” in the greater Baltimore metro area and schooldigger.com currently ranks FQMS as the top performing middle school in Maryland. Four teachers have achieved National Board Certification. The school has received various awards and recognition including the Healthy Howard Gold Award, the Maryland Green School Award, a PBIS Maryland Gold Standard School each of the past three years, and an Award of Excellence from the Maryland PTA.

Robert Frost Middle School is synonymous with excellence. Robert Frost students obtained proficient or advanced MSA scores of 94.5 percent in math and 97.4 percent in reading, while meeting its mandated progress targets for 10 consecutive years. Many of the 1140 diverse students receive top honors in events such as Math Counts, National Science Bowl, Final Frontiers, and Festivals of Music. In addition to being a high achieving school, Frost is characterized by its giving and caring for others. The school has donated thousands of dollars to local and national charities including the Rockville Holiday Food Drive, Oxfam International, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Association. Nearly 100 percent of the teachers are highly qualified with 9 percent obtaining National Board Certification. Recently, 95 percent of the school’s parents indicated a high approval rating and recorded over 2000 volunteer hours. Robert Frost Middle School is a place where staff and students excel, and parents and community care.

Century High School is a high performing school designed with a Career Academy structure. Students participate in one of four academies with over 90 percent earning a six-credit academy certificate by graduation. Student interns are placed at prestigious institutions including the National Cancer Institute, the National Security Agency, Northrop Grumman, and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. The focus on 21st Century Careers has led CHS to be named a University of Maryland Clark School of Engineering “Source School” and a Newsweek magazine national “Top High School.” Excellence is seen in all programs at Century, home to 28 state champions in only twelve years, a JROTC Honor Unit of Distinction, and 11 National Board Certified teachers. Scores on the HSA in math were 97.6 percent proficient and English was 96.8 percent. More than 90 percent of students receiving Free and Reduced Meals passed all HSA exams. Advanced Placement exams rose from 303 to 549 over the last five years with no drop in success with an average of 66 percent earning a 3 or above.

Boonsboro High School has achieved in HSA tests with 99.5 percent of students passing the math assessment and 98 scoring proficient passing English. It was ranked by US News & World Report as the top school in Washington County and recognized previously by MSDE for both Overall Achievement and Subgroup improvement in the 2011 Maryland High School Assessment program. Advanced Placement (AP) participation is consistently high with 62 percent of all AP students and 85 percent of those in AP physics or government earning a three or higher. In addition, 59 percent of the current senior class has taken the SAT, earning a combined score of 1604. Students participate in the Physics and Chemistry Olympics, Poetry Out Loud competitions, world language honor societies, the Academic Team, and “We the People” competitions. They produce musical performances, theatrical productions, and a literary magazine called BLAM (Boonsboro Literary and Arts Magazine) which highlights student artists and authors. Boonsboro is also proud of its 2012 State Championship cross-country team with its overall GPA of 3.71.