Three Howard County schools, Wilde Lake Middle School, Centennial High School and Glenelg High School, have been selected by the Maryland State Department of Education to participate in the National Secondary School Recognition Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

The purpose of the program is to identify and call attention to schools across the country that are unusually successful in meeting the educational needs of all their students.

Attributes used to examine the overall quality of a school's program were clear academic goals, high expectations for students, order and discipline, rewards and incentives for students, regular and frequent monitoring of student progress, opportunities for meaningful student responsibility and participation, teacher effectiveness, rewards and incentives for teachers, concentration on academic learning time, positive school climate, administrative leadership, well-articulated curriculum, evaluation for instructional improvement, and community support and involvement.

The indicators of success used to examine a school were student performance on standard achievement and minimum competency tests, numbers of students who go on to postsecondary education, find jobs or enlist in the military, daily teacher and student attendance rates and rates of student suspensions, dropout rates, awards for outstanding school programs and teaching, and student awards and scholarships in academic or vocational competitions.