OCEAN CITY – State officials named Ocean City Elementary School a Maryland Blue Ribbon School this week.
Ocean City Elementary, which received the distinction previously in 2001 and then went on to be named a National Blue Ribbon School, was one of six schools recognized Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor shared the news with the public at the end of Tuesday’s school board meeting. He stressed that while schools applied to receive the honor in the past, now the distinction was based solely on performance.
“They take all the data and they look at different things,” Taylor said. “It’s a selection process we have no control over.”
Schools that received the honor along with Ocean City included Pinewood Elementary (Baltimore County), Mount Harmony Elementary School (Calvert County), Urbana High School (Frederick County), Clarksville Middle School (Howard County) and Glenarden Woods Elementary School (Prince George’s County).
Each of the schools were selected in the category of “Exemplary High Achieving School,” having scored in the top 15 percent of all Maryland schools on the PARCC assessments. At Ocean City Elementary, an average of 76 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in math and English language arts on PARCC exams. Kindergarten readiness assessments showed 79 percent of its students to be kindergarten ready for the 2018/2019 school year. Officials also cited the school’s partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Health Literacy to develop health literacy standards and lessons. Other programs highlighted included the “Stand Up, Speak Up,” initiative and OC Stars, a music program with a 30-year history.
“Our most important obligation is to the next generation of Marylanders, which is why we want to recognize schools that are doing a great job of giving our kids the opportunities they need and the tools for success that they deserve,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news release. “Each of these outstanding schools are proof that with strong collaboration among dedicated educators, families, and communities we can close the achievement gap and give Maryland’s children hope for a better future. Congratulations to all of our deserving winners.”
Karen Salmon, the state superintendent of schools, also congratulated the honorees.
“Creating an outstanding learning environment is no easy task; it requires students, teachers, staff, family members and the community to work together toward a common goal,” she said. “Maryland’s Blue Ribbon honorees and their communities build a strong support system, giving our students the tools they need to succeed.”
The schools will now be invited to apply to be National Blue Ribbon Schools. In addition, each school will receive a Blue Ribbon flag, a monetary prize, $1,000 in office supplies, interactive technology equipment and a school-wide party. The schools will be honored by the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate on March 11, 2019.