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Press Release: All Six Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools Awarded National Blue Ribbons

Five Counties Represented Among this Year’s Honorees

For Immediate Release                   

Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, Darla Strouse, 410-767-0370

Baltimore, MD (September 29, 2015)

All six public schools awarded Maryland Blue Ribbons last year have been named 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

The State schools receiving national honors are:

  • Lake Shore Elementary School, Anne Arundel County
  • Severna Park Elementary School, Anne Arundel County
  • Pine Grove Elementary School, Baltimore County
  • Kemptown Elementary School, Frederick County
  • Fountain Green Elementary, Harford County
  • Smithsburg High School, Washington County

“This honor recognizes your students’ accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a video message sent to awardees this morning.  “Your journey has taught you collaboration, intentional instruction, and strong relationships in school and with your community. You represent excellence—in vision, in implementation, and in results—and we want to learn as much as we can from you.”

“Great schools and educators are vital to the success of our students, and our state. I believe every child in Maryland deserves a world-class education, and our state's Blue Ribbon Schools are making it happen by being the very best in teaching and learning,” said Governor Larry Hogan.  “I congratulate them on this wonderful achievement.”

Maryland awarded the six schools State Blue Ribbons last December.  Today’s honor verifies the excellence of those schools.

“These six schools proudly represent the outstanding education taking place in schools and classrooms throughout Maryland,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith. “We congratulate everyone involved, from the students to the teachers, to the administrators, to the parents and communities.”

The schools are recognized on the basis of rigorous State and national requirements for high achievement and significant improvement. The students in each of these schools are high achievers in reading and mathematics, and many serve a significant number of economically disadvantaged students. 

The U.S. Education Department invited National Blue Ribbon School nominations from top education officials in every state. A total of 420 schools nationwide could have been nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction.

National honors will be awarded on Nov. 9 and 10 in Washington DC, where Education Secretary Duncan will congratulate the Blue Ribbon recipients.

Maryland underwriting sponsors are BGE; Comcast; NTA Life; and State Farm Insurance. Gift sponsors are: Lightspeed Audio Technology Systems; Mrs. Fields/Joe Corbis Pizza; Rudolph’s Office Supply; and SMART Technologies, Inc


Blue Ribbon School Profiles

2015 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools

Anne Arundel County – Severna Park Elementary has been in the top 5 percentof schools in A.A. County and Maryland for 7 years running and was the top scoring school in Anne Arundel County in 2012, currently ranked 4th in MD.  In 2014 SPES had over 98% of its students scoring at proficient and advanced on MSA math and reading and 92% in Science. Over the past 6 years an average of 72% of SPES students scored “advanced” in Math with 68.5% scoring “advanced” in Reading.  As one of the oldest schools in the state (est.1852) it has strong community support with a dynamic PTA, receiving several awards including the 2010 Crystal Apple, the 2011 Exemplary Program Award for Excellence in Partnerships, helping to provide state of the art technology, sponsoring school clubs, Inquiry Based Learning, and STEM projects, etc. SPES has been a Green School since 1999 and hopes to receive EGATE status for 2015.

Anne Arundel County – Lake Shore Elementary students deliver strong scores in MSA with over 96% Proficient and Advanced in Reading and over 93% in mathematics.  The school has no achievement gap for its students whether FARMs or Special Education. Celebrations of achievements include Pride Paw Walk as student names adorn the hallways if they make honor roll.  As a PBIS school, classes mark their progress with a Cruisin’ with Pride wall.  All students have the opportunity to earn the Very Important Student Award; and representatives from every teacher’s classes, including Special Education and Cultural Arts, are recognized at the Character of the Quarter awardees’ breakfast.  Lake Shore is a Green School and one of only five Arts Integration Elementary Schools in Anne Arundel County.  Teachers challenge the students with the 24 Club, Bricks 4 Kidz, and a running club.

Baltimore County – Pine Grove Elementary School’s 2013-14 MSA, had 97 % of students scoring proficient or advanced in reading, with 84.4 % of fifth graders achieving advanced. In math, 93.5% of students scored proficient or advanced. With a student enrollment of 46 % minority, 42 % economically disadvantaged, and 13% special education, the sub-group performance had 87% of special education and 95% of FARMS students achieving proficient or advanced in reading. Baltimore Magazine cited Pine Grove as one of the best schools in the metropolitan area. The school’s autism program is a model in the state; students consistently receive top awards in the SOMIRAC Young Authors’ Contest, 24 Math Challenge, and STEM Fair competitions. The school excels in the arts with displays at the State House and participation in national children’s choirs. As a top-five fundraiser in the state, the school sent hundreds of gift boxes to the military and students collected over $10,500 for Leukemia and Lymphoma patients.

Frederick County - Kemptown Elementary School’s overall MSA math proficiency was 94.6% and reading was 96.7%In addition, 52% of all students and 87% of fifth graders scored in the advanced range in reading. The school’s efforts to improve attendance have resulted in 97.1% attendance - the highest rate among the district’s elementary schools.  The school staff is a dedicated and committed group, with 90% holding a Master’s Equivalency or higher.  There is a strong sense of school pride as evidenced by superior custodial ratings, as well as FCPS Outstanding Curb Appeal recognition for two consecutive years.  A professional development school for Hood College, KES also sponsors after-school student clubs, including STEM, Math, Guys Read Book Club, and Running Chics.  The PTA and parent community offer numerous programs and volunteers to support staff and students.

Harford County – Fountain Green Elementary has over 95.4% of students proficient or advanced on MSA math and 96.9% proficient or advanced in reading.  This high academic achievement is encouraged, monitored and celebrated.  In addition to the academic subjects, students and teachers value the importance of the “whole child”.  Students are encouraged to participate in activities which showcase their talents in the fine arts by entering poster contests and participating in the annual school musical.   The school has won the Maryland Center for Character Education School of the Year Award.  The PTA runs a Lego Club and has recently implemented a STEM Club to encourage students in apply logical thinking and inquiry.  Fountain Green students strive for strength in academics and to apply their learning in creative manners.

Washington County – Smithsburg High School builds on the academic success of its strong feeder schools to achieve a greater than 97 % pass rate on the English, Algebra, and Biology High School Assessments with 98.2% of students proficient in math and 97.7 % proficient in English. Also 94.5 % of the over 40 % of economically challenged students scored proficient on the English and Algebra HSA.  During the 2013-2014 school year, Advanced Placement (AP) participation increased 27 % while the AP pass rate increased 28 %.  Smithsburg High continues to increase and expand rigor, offering AP United States History to freshmen, through innovative programs like the Smithsburg Academic Leadership Team (SALT) and the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) programs.

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