Pocomoke Middle Featured On NBC’s Today Show

BERLIN – A local school recently received national attention when featured on the NBC Today Show.

Pocomoke Middle School was one of the many schools visited by the show as part of its focus on education during NBC’s Education National Summit.

The middle school (which is comprised of 462 students, 61 percent of which qualify for Free and Reduced Meals, or FARMS), contains grades fourth through eighth. The school spent three days playing host to several producers and camera crews along with Today Show anchor Ann Curry who joined in the Sept. 23 morning announcements via live-feed video to every classroom telling the students, “We are here because you are all winners.”

Over the course of the visit, which kicked off Sept. 20 with a Dads and Sons dinner and a Movie Night, Curry and her team met with students, family and faculty in an attempt to gain insight as to what made the school as successful as it was. Students shared their stories and teachers discussed techniques and goals, offering several classroom demonstrations for the Today Show crew.

The show also spent time with Principal Caroline Bloxom, who has been principal of Pocomoke since 2000.

“I felt an enormous amount of pride having the Today Show feature our school. Our teachers and staff have worked very hard over the years and our students are amazing,” she said. “They all understand that it takes hard work and commitment to be successful. Together, we are committed to our students reaching their full potential.”

Bloxom wasn’t the only one excited about the attention from NBC. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes shared similar feelings about the accomplishments of the students and faculty.

“We are very proud that Pocomoke Middle School was showcased by the Today Show. The school is making a positive difference for our students, as are all of our schools.  It truly is a special day when the national media takes notice of the great efforts of our teachers, students, and our entire community,” he said.

Pocomoke Middle School caught NBC’s eye because other national organizations have already recognized the superior efforts of the school. Pocomoke Middle is currently on both the U.S. Department of Education’s “Doing What Works” website and the National Association of Secondary Principals’ website as a 2008 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School.

When looking at the test scores and programs in place at the school, one can see why such a buzz is being made. The 2010 Maryland State Assessments (MSA) has shown that a huge majority of students are considered proficient or advanced in math (81 percent) and reading (83.3) percent. In addition to their success in academics, The Today Show made sure to focus on the multitude of programs offered which contribute to the growth and education of the students. Besides some of the school’s general information, like theme and climate, programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Soar to Success reading intervention program, and SMART Board instruction were also featured. Special notice was given to Pocomoke’s immersion in the arts and the artist in residence for the school.

Pocomoke and many other prominent schools had their stories told over the week of Sept. 27. Pocomoke Middle School’s particular segment was aired on September 29.