Blue Ribbon: Maryland Unveils Its Highest Performing Schools

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Education excellence. That’s what the Blue Ribbon Award means to school leaders across the state. Thursday Maryland named which schools are taking home the prize this year.

Gigi Barnett has the details.

The schools that receive the honor get cash donations, but for many of them the biggest honor maybe hanging that blue ribbon on the side of its building.

At Chadwick Elementary in Baltimore County, discussions about books are lively. Teachers say it’s how they know students are learning.

And, nearly 99 percent of Chadwick students are strong readers. That’s part of the reason why Chadwick is one of the state’s six Blue Ribbon Schools.

“For me, it’s the Oscar. For me, it’s the ultimate success,” said Chadwick’s principal Bonnie Hess.

Many of her students receive free or reduced lunch, and nearly 25 percent couldn’t speak English when they enrolled. She says most of the thanks goes out to teachers.

“The wonderful part of this is, when children stay with us from the beginning to the end, we’re able to see the growth, and it’s hard to tell the children who are born in America from those who are not,” Hess said.

In addition to Chadwick, five other schools can now hang a Blue Ribbon on its buildings. They include Charlesmont Elementary in Baltimore County, Folly Quarter Middle in Howard County, Robert Frost Middle in Montgomery County, Century High in Carroll County and Boonsboro High in Washington County.

“It is especially pleasing to be here today with Blue Ribbon Schools because you work with student populations that come in with all kinds of challenges, and you still get the very best from them,” said Dr. Lillian Lowry, state school superintendent.

“You never know when you’re going to be able to reach for that star and be able to grasp it. And this feels delightful,” Hess said.

All state Blue Ribbon schools are eligible for the National Blue Ribbon Award, which is even more prestigious.

In the past four years, all nominated Maryland schools also won the national award.

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