Three Montgomery County schools were named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2013 on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, and two Catholic elementary schools, Holy Cross Catholic School in Garrett Park, and St. John the Evangelist School in Silver Spring, were among the 286 schools nationwide to receive the honor. Maryland had a total of 11 schools on the list released Tuesday.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award was founded in 1982. It honors schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement, according to a statement from the Department of Education about the awards.
“We hoped we would get it and worked very hard,” Sister Kathleen Lannak, IHM, principal of St. John the Evangelist, said Tuesday. “It’s a big honor and this morning, [after the announcement] we had a big celebration. We had an assembly and everybody got blue lollipops and we had a total school picture taken. It was pretty neat.”
Lisa Maio Kane, principal of Holy Cross, said she, her faculty, staff and students have worked four years to be named a National Blue Ribbon School.
“It was a personal goal for me and a goal for my school,” Kane said.
To achieve the goal, she said, they introduced new reading and language arts programs and increased the use of technology.
“We worked very hard to bring up student test scores and student awareness [of learning methods],” she said.
Her students too were treated to an assembly and they celebrated with blue frosted cupcakes.
“We have lots of things planned for the students because they are the ones that worked very hard,” she said.
Joey Jones, principal of Robert Frost Middle School, said he informed his students and staff of their Blue Ribbon award in a school-wide television announcement.
He said the keys to Frost’s success are the students’ academic achievements, the teachers working together for excellence and the parents supporting the school’s mission.
He said he thinks the students understand the honor of attending a Blue Ribbon School.
“It does a lot for them, it makes them more confidence and encourages them to do their very best,” he said.
All three of Montgomery county’s award winning schools were listed as Exemplary High Performing Schools for having high student achievement.
States are asked to submit nominations for the award from among their public schools and the Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. Those schools are then invited to complete an application. Up to 420 schools can be nominated each year nationally.
Administrators from the Blue Ribbon schools will be honored at ceremonies Nov. 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C. At that time principals receive a plaque and a flag announcing their schools as Blue Ribbon School winners. .
“Our school was a very good school anyhow,” Lannak said. “We just took a look at what we did and made sure it was written down in a way [the selection committee] would understand it.”