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Six Maryland Public Schools Named 2016-17 State Blue Ribbon Honorees

Program Spotlights High Achievement, Improvement

BALTIMORE, MD – Six Maryland public schools today were selected as 2016-17 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools.

The schools are:
• Shipley’s Choice Elementary School, Anne Arundel County
• Sunderland Elementary School, Calvert County
• Centerville Elementary School, Frederick County
• Manor Woods Elementary School, Howard County
• Ronald McNair Elementary School, Montgomery County
• Farmland Elementary School, Montgomery County

“The Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools represent the thoughtful work taking place at public schools throughout our State, as they prepare students for the next grade or the next step in life,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “When schools succeed at this level it is a tribute to all: students, teachers, administrators, and community members. They all deserve our congratulations and admiration.”
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 several have a significant number of disadvantaged students.

The schools will be invited by the U.S. Department of Education to apply to be National Blue Ribbon Schools. With underwriting and gift sponsor support, each school will receive a Maryland Blue Ribbon Flag, a monetary prize, $1000 of office supplies, interactive technology equipment, and a school Congratulations Party. A dinner in Annapolis will be held in honor of the winning schools on March 13, 2017. On that date, each Blue Ribbon School will be honored by the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate.

Maryland underwriting sponsors are BGE, Comcast, and NTA Life. Gift sponsors are: Dimension U, Lifetouch Studios, Mrs. Fields/Joe Corbis Pizza; Rudolph’s Office Supply; and SMART Technologies, Inc.


Anne Arundel County – Shipley’s Choice Elementary – Beth Burke, Principal

Shipley’s Choice students have consistently excelled on local and state assessments. For this year’s PARCC assessments, math scores were 89.4 percent proficient and above and English/language arts scores were 86.9 percent. In addition to classroom instruction that incorporates STEM activities, a strong writing curriculum, and infusion of technology to foster learning at the highest levels, students benefit from a wide array of extracurricular opportunities. The Makerspace Club, for example, includes almost 100 fourth- and fifth-grade students. Many students also participate in the First Lego League, Running Club, Dance Club, and Mini Rock & Roll Revival Concert. In addition, students participate in service projects, such as supporting children at the Johns Hopkins Oncology unit or supporting soldiers through Operation Welcome Home. The environmental committee also has created an outdoor classroom and teaches students about recycling and conservation.

Calvert County – Sunderland Elementary School – Pamela Kasulke, Principal

Sunderland Elementary students scored overall at 73 percent proficient or above in math and 70 percent in English/language arts areas of PARCC. The school encourages volunteerism and has a Family Student Organization (FSO) that also assists with fundraising efforts. All students become “future ready” by using Ipads, HP Streambooks, document cameras, SMARTBoards, and computers. In grades 4 and 5, a 1:1 device program has students utilizing technology in daily instruction. The school offers services for special needs students, as well as regional programs that include Inclusive Pre-K, Co-Taught Kindergarten and HeadStart. The Seahawk Kindness Crew works in partnership with Huntingtown High School’s Key Club to foster respect and kindness. Community partnerships with local churches provide support for families in the school though the HeartFelt Backpack Program and The Angel Tree Project.

Frederick County – Centerville Elementary School – Tracy Hilliard, Principal

Centerville Elementary with over 1000 students, had PARCC proficiency scores of 82.4 percent in math and 77 percent in English/language arts. It is the 2015-2016 top fundraiser for Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Hearts in Frederick County and 15th in the state with a $22,000 donation to the American Heart Association. Students exemplify what a star scholar should be each day by displaying Star Pride and they are celebrated during an assembly in front of parents and peers. Our Star Staff members participate in a Helping Hoops basketball game to collect food for the local foodbank. During the 2016 Helping Hoops campaign, the students and staff contributed well over 5000 food and hygiene items. The schoolyard garden produces crops that are harvested by the students and donated to the local foodbank and shelters. The staff challenges the students with the MakerSpace Club, Coding Club, Book Club, STEM Club, and Track club.

Howard County – Manor Woods Elementary School – James Weisner, Principal

Manor Woods Elementary, with more than 700 students, emphasizes respect among teachers, students, and community members. Students’ PARCC scores showed proficiency of 75% in math and 71% in English/language arts. Manor Woods is a Maryland Green School. Its PBIS program provides positive reinforcement to students for demonstrating respect, responsibility, and readiness. The school excels in the arts, with nearly 300 students participating in the Manor Woods band and strings programs. The school’s students also participate in district-level honors chorus, and are represented in visual arts at local and statewide shows. Students are also strongly committed to community service and participate in local food drives as well as in the Grassroots Change Matters campaign, and Heavenly Hats programs.

Montgomery County – Farmland Elementary School – Mary Bliss, Principal

Farmland Elementary has a diverse international student population with a motto – “Together We Can.”. At Farmland, students come from 23 different countries, with 179 ESOL students speaking 24 different languages. In spite of language challenges, PARCC proficiency in math was 74 percent and English/language arts was 66 percent. A highlight of the school year is the International Night Celebration which serves as a vehicle for parental collaboration. The faculty and administrators have high expectations for themselves and the students, and focus on critical thinking skills for all students. Each student sets achievable personal goals and meets regularly with teachers to monitor his or her performance and achievement success. Farmland Elementary also has a mentoring program, morning messages, celebration assemblies, and charitable events geared to developing social responsibility in all the students.

Montgomery County – Ronald McNair Elementary School – Sherilyn Moses, Principal

Ronald McNair, with an enrollment of 875 students, has a diverse population that includes economically disadvantaged, ESOL, and special education students. The school has made strides in achievement with over 62 percent of its students proficient or advanced in both math and English/language arts. The school’s Home School Model program has special education students fully included in co-taught classes at all grade levels, K through 5th grades. McNair was ranked as the 11th best public elementary school in the state of Maryland, and top in Montgomery County Public Schools for the 2015 NICHE Ranking of Best Schools. As a fourth year PBIS school, classes mark their progress with coupons, awards, and quarterly town hall Meetings. The school was awarded the prestigious Bronze Award for its implementation of PBIS and is a Professional Development School with Towson University, training up to fifteen teachers each year.