Local Title I Schools Honored

SNOW HILL — Three Worcester County elementary schools received special recognition this week as “Reward Schools” from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Buckingham, Pocomoke, and Snow Hill Elementary schools (BES, PES, SHES) joined 27 other schools across Maryland in being honored this week as Title I reward schools.

To qualify as Title I, a school must be both “high poverty and high performance”, according to Worcester County Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. John Gaddis.

While performance is judged by test scores like the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) poverty is determined by the number of students on a Free or Reduced Meal plan (FARMS).

BES, PES and SHES are the only three such Title I schools in all of Worcester, explained Gaddis, and all three of them received recognition with BES and SHES receiving the second highest possible categorization out of four and PES receiving the highest.

“All of them were recognized … all of the schools made significant progress,” said Gaddis.

Due to its top-seeding, PES will be part of a MSDE project to film what Gaddis described as the school’s “best practices” and then share that information and similar data gathered from other top-rated Title I schools across the state.

Maryland Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery weighed in this week on the importance of Title I schools being successful.

“Every child must be given the opportunity to achieve, and these Reward Schools spotlight outstanding educational opportunities provided in classrooms throughout our State,” said Lowery.  “Students in Title I schools often face significant economic hardships, and yet the data shows that they can succeed and thrive in our classrooms.”

During the last two school years, the 30 Title I schools honored have either been high performing in test scores or high progress in eliminating gaps between educational subgroups, according to a release from MSDE.

Gaddis said that he was proud of all of Worcester’s Title I schools making the list and particularly the fact that PES will be used by MSDE as a teaching example for the rest of the state.

Gaddis mentioned that similar recognitions in years past usually came with additional grant funding, which this does not, but was realistic in admitting that times and budgets have changed and that it is still great to be distinguished.