Farmland and Ronald McNair elementary schools have been selected as 2016-2017 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Farmland and McNair will now compete for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award.
“Farmland and Ronald McNair elementary schools are great examples of how highly engaged staff, students and communities work together to produce excellent results,” said Michael Durso, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “This award is a fitting recognition for the outstanding work being done by so many at these schools.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes and honors schools that exhibit high performance and/or significant improvement in reading and mathematics achievement as measured by Maryland assessments. Schools must meet other rigorous standards developed by MSDE and the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), including school leadership, professional development, and instructional approaches based on school-age population.
“Farmland and Ronald McNair are doing exceptional work to meet the educational needs of all its students,” said Superintendent Jack Smith. “This award recognizes their hard work and commitment to ensuring success for all students and I want to congratulate the staff, students and parents on this well-deserved recognition.”
Farmland and Ronald McNair were two of six 2016 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools announced on Dec. 5. Other winners are: Shipley’s Choice Elementary in Anne Arundel County; Sunderland Elementary School in Calvert County; Centerville Elementary School in Frederick County; and Manor Woods Elementary School in Howard County.
Farmland Elementary has a diverse international student population with a motto—“Together We Can.” At Farmland, students come from 23 different countries, with 179 ESOL students speaking 24 different languages. In spite of language challenges, PARCC proficiency in math was 74 percent and English/language arts was 66 percent.
“Farmland is a great school because we have a dedicated staff, strong parent and community support and outstanding students,” said Mary Bliss, principal of Farmland. “Our staff is completely dedicated to providing every student at Farmland with an outstanding education and we appreciate the recognition from the state.”
Ronald McNair, with an enrollment of 875 students, has a diverse population that includes economically disadvantaged, ESOL, and special education students. The school has made strides in achievement with more than 62 percent of students who are proficient or advanced in both math and English/language arts. The school’s Home School Model program has special education students fully included in co-taught classes at all grade levels, kindergarten through 5th grades.
“I am so proud to be the principal of this school and this Blue Ribbon Award is a recognition of the tireless efforts of our staff and the hard work and determination of our students and parents,” Principal Sherry Moses said. “We will continue to ensure that all of our students receive the education and support they need to thrive today and in the future.”
As state winners, Farmland and Ronald McNair will now compete in the National Blue Ribbon Awards program. The National Blue Ribbon Schools will be announced in September 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education. MCPS has 37 National Blue Ribbon Schools, the most recent being Cashell Elementary School in 2014.
Farmland, Ronald McNair and the other winning schools will receive a Maryland Blue Ribbon flag, a monetary prize, an interactive whiteboard and a schoolwide party. A dinner in Annapolis will be held in honor of the winning schools next spring.