Ronald McNair and Farmland elementary schools have been selected 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). The winners of the award were announced on Thursday (Sept. 28, 2017).
The National Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The students in each of these schools are high achievers in reading and mathematics, and many serve a significant number of economically disadvantaged students. McNair and Farmland are the 38th and 39th schools in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to be named National Blue Ribbon Schools.
“Congratulations to the entire Ronald McNair and Farmland elementary school communities on being named National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith. “Outstanding teaching is the crux of high levels of learning. It is clear that this has led to great results for our children. We are so proud of this wonderful accomplishment.”
Both schools were named Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools in December 2016, qualifying them for consideration as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Other state winners also receiving national honors are: Shipley’s Choice Elementary School, Anne Arundel County; Sunderland Elementary School, Calvert County; Centerville Elementary School, Frederick County; and Manor Woods Elementary School in Howard County. In addition, seven nonpublic schools in Maryland are being honored.
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 its students proficient or advanced in 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, K through 5th grades.
McNair was ranked as the 11th best public elementary school in the state of Maryland, and top in MCPS for the 2015 NICHE Ranking of Best Schools. As a fourth-year Positive Behavioral Inventions and Supports (PBIS) school, classes mark progress with coupons, awards and quarterly town hall meetings. The school was awarded the prestigious Bronze Award for its implementation of PBIS and is a professional development school with Towson University, training up to 15 teachers each year.
Farmland also has a diverse international student population with the 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.
A highlight of the school year is the International Night celebration, which serves as a vehicle for parent involvement and collaboration. The faculty and administrators have high expectations for themselves and the students, and focus on critical thinking skills for all students. Each student sets achievable personal goals and meets regularly with teachers to monitor his or her performance and achievement success. Farmland also has a mentoring program, morning messages, celebration assemblies and charitable events geared to developing social responsibility in its students.
USDE recognized 342 schools as National Blue Ribbon winners for 2017. McNair, Farmland and the other honorees will be honored at recognition ceremonies on Nov. 6–7 in Washington, D.C.
National Blue Ribbon Schools website
Ronald McNair Elementary School
Farmland Elementary School