Charlesmont Elementary receives national honor
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 12:30

Charlesmont Elementary has been named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. photo by Roland Dorsey

Named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School

by Nicole Rodman

    Last Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Charlesmont Elementary School is one of 286 schools across the nation to be designated as a 2013-2014 National Blue Ribbon School.
    Charlesmont joins just 11 other schools across the state in receiving the honor this year.
    Created in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon School Program recognizes exceptional schools across the country.
    Schools are recognized as either “Exemplary High Performing” or “Exemplary Improving” schools.
    Charlesmont, recognized as an Exemplary High Performing school, and Chadwick Elementary School in Woodlawn were the only two schools in Baltimore County to receive the award.
    County-wide standouts, both Chadwick and Charlesmont are also Title I schools.
    A Title I school is one with a high percentage of economically-disadvantaged students.
    Both schools were also named 2013 Maryland Blue Ribbon schools by the Maryland Department of Education last December.
    “It is noteworthy that both Chadwick and Charlesmont are Title I schools with high percentages of students from economically-disadvantaged families and communities,” Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance said in December.
    “The success of these schools proves once again that family income does not determine academic achievement. Great teachers and principals, involved parents, a strong academic program, and engaged students make all the difference.”
    It is strong academics and parental involvement that have led to Charlesmont’s award-winning year.
    In 2012, more than 97.5 percent of Charlesmont students scored as proficient or advanced in reading and 98.7 percent scored as proficient or advanced in mathematics.
    Another factor that led to  Charlesmont being named a Blue Ribbon School both at the state level and nationwide was high parent involvement.
    In addition, the school is a member of the Alliance for Healthy Schools program, which encourages healthy habits in students.
    For her part, principal Marsha Ayres could barely contain her excitement when she heard that Charlesmont was named a National Blue Ribbon School.
    As soon as she received the news, she went on the school’s intercom system to tell her teachers and students.
    “One of my teachers began whooping in the hallway, and with my guidance counselor, we went class by class and applauded our teachers and our boys and girls,” Ayres noted in a press release last week. “It’s all because of our wonderful teachers and staff and our wonderful boys and girls. They go the extra mile.”
    In recognition of the school’s National Blue Ribbon status, Charlesmont will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
    In addition, the school will receive a plaque and flag from the U.S. Department of Education.