September 11, 2008

Two Schools Get National Honor


Broadneck Elementary School and St. John the Evangelist School received national kudos yesterday when the U.S. Department of Education named them 2008 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools.

"We just have great teachers who do wonderful things for our children," said Nicole Roberts, president of Broadneck's Parent- Teacher Organization.

Faculty and staff over at St. John's School in Severna Park were sporting blue ribbon lapels today in celebration of the school's award.

"All this is so new," said St. John's principal Sister Linda Larsen. "Everybody's excited about receiving it."

The two schools were among 320 nationwide given the honor.

"This is just so cool," said Broadneck Principal Alison Lee. "Last year the state knew, and now the whole nation knows," she said referring to the school being named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School last year.

The award recognizes schools that are making significant progress toward closing the achievement gap, or where students are achieving at very high levels, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Education.

Broadneck and St. John the Evangelist will be honored by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at awards ceremonies Oct. 20 and 21 in Washington, D.C.

Broadneck students performed in the top 10 percent of Maryland schools on state standardized exams, the state department said in December. About 97 percent of the school's fifth-grade students scored proficient or advanced on the state's reading exam, and 99.1 percent of students were proficient or advanced on the math exam.

Being a Maryland Blue Ribbon School was a boon last year, Ms. Lee said. Students addressed notes to her as "my blue ribbon principal," sang a blue ribbon song written by the music teacher and called themselves "the Broadneck Blue Bees," referring to the school's mascot.

"It's been really fun for the kids," Ms. Lee said.

School counselor Kim Baicar said parents at Broadneck put in an extraordinary amount of volunteer time that enables the

school to run programs such as a camping trip to Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. Their help makes the school successful, she said.

More than 400 parents volunteered over 12,000 hours last year, she said. "It's the reason why we're a national blue ribbon school."

St. John's the Evangelist, with students in kindergarten through eighth grade, became the first school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to receive the national award, Sister Larsen said.

Little Flower School in Bethesda, which is part of the Archdiocese of Washington, also won the award.

St. John's students scored in the top 10 percent nationally for the past five years on the Stanford 10 achievement tests administered to private school students.

The school is planning a celebration for its blue ribbon award Oct. 24 on its campus off Ritchie Highway, Sister Larsen said.

At Broadneck there are four teachers who are National Board Certified, which is a prestigious national teaching credential, Ms. Lee said. Other teachers are working toward that certification.

Broadneck is the ninth county public school to receive the national award, according to a news release from the school system.

Severna Park Middle School and Benfield, Bodkin, Folger McKinsey, Jones, Mayo, Oak Hill and West Annapolis elementary schools also have been named National Blue Ribbon schools in past years. {Corrections:} {Status:}


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