BALTIMORE (WJZ)– We’re No. 1! For the fourth year in a row, Maryland is tops in the nation when it comes to education.

And as Gigi Barnett explains, school leaders received the highest marks among their youngest students.

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Jennifer Kirby’s pre-K class at Cedarmere Elementary is the first step for the youngest learners in Baltimore County.

Early development classes like Kirby’s is one reason why “Education Week” magazine just ranked Maryland the No. 1 school system in the nation for the fourth consecutive year.

“We’re getting our kids ready for the future, and that starts early with 4- and 5 year olds,” Kirby said.

Maryland’s report card looks good. The prestigious magazine gave the state an overall ‘B-plus’ grade. Once again, Maryland beat out heavy hitters like Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.

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Most other states ranked somewhere in the middle as the national average score is a ‘C.’

“We all have to remember this comes down to the classroom,” Dr. John Smeallie, Deputy State Superintendent, said.

Smeallie says Maryland earned high marks for its pre-K programs, preparing high schoolers for college and keeping highly qualified teachers in the classroom.

But Smeallie says school leaders statewide aren’t celebrating just yet.

“We have to remember we’re not done. There are still areas we need to work. And we will continue to work to eliminate the achievement gap to make sure every student succeeds regardless of where he or she lives,” he said.

That means there is room for improvement. The state said it wants to increase test scores, especially among minority and low-income students.

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Schools in Washington, D.C, South Dakota and Nebraska ranked in the bottom three districts nationwide.