Two Washington-area schools awarded Maryland 2014 Blue Ribbon School honor

December 11, 2013

The Maryland State Department of Education on Wednesday recognized two Washington-area schools with 2014 Blue Ribbon school awards for exemplary performance.

Cashell Elementary School in Montgomery County and Robert Goddard French Immersion School in Prince George’s County were among six schools statewide that were selected for high achievement and significant improvement.

“The Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools stand as shining examples of the outstanding education taking place at public schools throughout our state,” State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery said in a statement. “The students, teachers, administrators and communities that are part of these schools deserve our congratulations and admiration.”

Both Cashell, which serves the Rockville and Olney areas, and Robert Goddard, which is located in Seabrook, have consistently scored at high levels on the state assessments.

Many of the 578 students at Robert Goddard, the second oldest total immersion school in the country, receive top honors in numerous programs, including from the French Ministry of Education and the National Science Bowl.

More than 94 percent of the students at Robert Goddard French Immersion were proficient in math and 95 percent were proficient in reading in 2013.

“I am extremely proud of the students and staff at Robert Goddard French Immersion for their achievement and the hard work they have done to earn it,” Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools, said in a statement. “The Blue Ribbon Award is one of the highest honors a school can receive, and it indicates that everything is in place to ensure student achievement: outstanding leadership, effective instruction, ongoing professional development and strong partnerships with parents and the community.”

Cashell, which in recent years has seen significant changes in demographics, has met all state accountability expectations, state officials said. In 2013, more than 95 percent of the students were proficient in reading and math. Sixty percent of the students scored in the advanced range in math and 52 percent scored in the advanced range in reading.

State officials said Cashell, which has 326 students, has a strong integrated arts program, and the chorus has performed at the Cherry Blossom Parade, the Pageant of Peace and Zoolights.

“I am so proud of our students and staff and so grateful for the support we receive from our parents and our community,” said Cashell Elementary Principal Maureen Ahern-Stamoulis, after attending the announcement in Baltimore on Wednesday.

Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr said in a statement that the work of the students, staff and community at Cashell Elementary represents the type of collaboration that is exhibited daily in the county’s schools.

“Cashell Elementary School is doing exceptional work to meet the educational needs of all its students, and this award recognizes that dedicated effort,” Starr said.

The other schools selected by the state were Frost Elementary in Allegany County; Linthicum Elementary in Anne Arundel County; Western School of Technology and Environmental Science High in Baltimore County, and Northern Garrett High in Garrett County.

“This is just an incredible honor because it recognizes the tremendous hard work of so many people inside and outside of our school building,” Linthicum Elementary Principal Fran Nussle said in a statement. “We have an outstanding staff, hard-working students, dedicated parents, and a community that supports us in so many ways. Every one of them has a part of this award.”

The six schools are eligible to apply to become a National Blue Ribbon School. They will be honored during a dinner in Annapolis this spring by the General Assembly.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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