Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 19, 2014

BOE announces three schools of distinction

West Side, Frost elementary schools, Washington Middle receive recognition

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education announced Tuesday that several schools have been recognized for improving on their predetermined objectives while exhibiting an overall level of high performance.

West Side and Frost elementary schools and Washington Middle School have been chosen by the board as 2013/2014 Schools of Distinction.

The announcement was made at the regular monthly meeting of the school board at its central office.

“Tonight we recognize schools that have shown great perseverance,” said Mike McGowan, elementary supervisor.

The board’s Schools of Distinction designation recognizes elementary, middle and high schools that display high levels of student achievement. Schools are given yearly targets and gauged by tracking annual measurable objectives. The objectives are school, grade and content specific rather than all students aiming for the same target.

“Congratulations to all of you on a job well done,” said Ed Root, board member.

West Side was recognized for being in the top 10 percent academically of schools with at least a 40 percent economically disadvantaged student population. A total of 88.4 percent of the school’s students scored proficient or higher on the 2013 Maryland State Assessment tests in reading and 87.8 percent of students scored proficient or higher in math.

Frost was recognized for having 95 percent of all students scoring proficient or higher on the reading, math and science MSA tests.

The Maryland State Department of Education also recently honored Frost as a Blue Ribbon School for 2014.

Washington Middle School was recognized for having a 40 percent economically disadvantaged population that demonstrated dramatic improvement over the past three years.

An example of Washington’s achievements is represented in an increase from 75 percent proficient in 2011 in reading to 82.6 percent proficient in 2013 for all test-takers.

The three schools recognized received proclamations and citations from several area institutions as well as a $1,000 monetary award to be used at the school’s discretion.

Cash Valley Elementary School was also recognized as a Title 1 Highest Performing Reward School for the 2013/2014 school year.

Maryland schools are now indexed and classified within categories known as strands. There are five strand levels, with the highest performing schools being a strand one.

Cash Valley has been a strand two school for the last two years and has met the target for both achievement and gap reduction.

Cash Valley met the 2012 and 2013 objectives in Maryland State Assessments in reading and math for all students and subgroups.

In other news from the meeting, Marsha Miller, accountability coordinator, said that the new PARCC  — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career — tests will be given this year.

 “The pretests have been loaded into our system and training for our coordinators has been done,” said Miller.

The initial assessments will act as a field test for the new format. The PARCC testing system is part of the new Common Core Curriculum. Maryland is transitioning from the MSA system with its multiple choice testing format to a new PARCC testing system which requires more critical thinking and technical language skills.

Schools that will be participating in the pilot PARCC field testing program will be Washington Middle School, Mountain Ridge High School and the Center for Career and Technical Education.

Miller said the new PARCC tests will give students the option of requesting additional time to complete the test. Additional time can not exceed 50 percent of the established time for the testing session.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

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