Cumberland Times-News

December 11, 2013

Blue Ribbon honors bestowed on schools

Frost Elementary and Northern Garrett High receive School of Excellence distinctions

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Frost Elementary School and Northern Garrett High School have each been named a 2014 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the Maryland State Department of Education among six schools statewide.

Allegany County Superintendent of Schools David Cox accepted the award with Principal Kim Smith and several staff members from Frost.

Garrett County Superintendent of Schools Janet Wilson was accompanied by Principal Gary Reichenbecher and several board of education and staff members.

Each school was presented a Blue Ribbon School flag and plaque by State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery and Darla Strouse, executive director of the Office of Partnership Development. The schools also received a monetary prize, an interactive Smart Board and a school-wide pizza party for the accomplishment.  

“Our school performance is a testament to the Frost Elementary School staff’s commitment to student achievement,” said Smith. “The faculty’s effective instruction, focus and hard work lead our students to meet high expectations. Our parents are dedicated to supporting the teachers and school in a partnership of learning, and our student achievement success is a reflection of the teamwork between teachers, parents, students and the Frost community.”  

“This is spectacular news for Garrett County Public Schools,” said Wilson. “This is truly a credit to a very hard-working and dedicated faculty, staff and students. We celebrate this accomplishment and look forward to the national competition.”

A dinner in Annapolis will be held in honor of the six winning schools in the spring and each Blue Ribbon School will be honored by the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate.

“What a wonderful accomplishment for Northern High School and the students,” said Cynthia Downton, president of the Garrett County Board of Education. “We know the quality of education our students are receiving, and this is what keeps us positive on a daily basis. As always, we ask our employees to do more with less, and this accolade just proves what an exceptional job they are doing. Congratulations to Northern High School.”

The Blue Ribbon program honors schools for their outstanding accomplishments in student achievement as measured by Maryland’s assessments. Schools are selected for being high achievers in reading and math, and many serve a significant number of economically disadvantaged students. Other achievement indicators include school leadership, professional development, instructional approaches, and parent and community involvement.  

“The Maryland Blue Ribbon schools stand as shining examples of the outstanding education taking place at public schools throughout the state,” said Lowery.  “The students, teachers, administrators and communities that are part of these schools deserve our congratulations and admiration.”

More than 95 percent of Frost students obtained proficient or advanced MSA scores in reading and math, and 100 percent of the teachers are highly qualified.  

Community partnerships such as the Frostburg Rotary Club, American Legion and Frostburg State University’s science department have supported the school’s instructional program, and for six years, Frost has teamed with the FSU football players to promote reading in the classrooms. The school has also supported local and national charities including “Kids Helping Kids” to collect canned food for a local food pantry; a pet supply collection to benefit the local animal shelter; the St. Jude’s Mathathon; and the Pennies for Patients campaign. Along with being a Green School, Frost also participates in a school-wide recycling program. Frost has been recognized as a Maryland Gold Standard School for the past five years and was recognized for overall performance on the MSAs for subgroup performance.  

Allegany County’s Schools of Distinction is modeled after the Blue Ribbon program and Frost has been honored as a School of Distinction several times.

Other Blue Ribbon winners include Linthicum Elementary, Anne Arundel County; Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, Baltimore County; Cashell Elementary, Montgomery County; and Robert Goddard French Immersion Elementary/Middle, Prince George’s County. The schools have the opportunity to compete for National Blue Ribbon awards, which will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in September.