2 schools make 'Redbook's' 'Best' list BALTIMORE CITY

April 09, 1993|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Staff Writer

Two Baltimore public elementary schools were listed among "America's Best Schools" in this month's issue of Redbook magazine.

Mount Washington Elementary in Northwest Baltimore was honored for "overall excellence" and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary in West Baltimore for showing "significant improvement" in attendance and academic achievement, according to Redbook's annual America's Best Schools project.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor serves children from some of the poorest homes in Baltimore. Deborah Wortham, principal, said the attendance rate there has increased from 86 percent in 1990 to 93.3 percent this year.

"We did it by enhancing our instruction program and making it more student-oriented. We also gave incentives [to attend school] like pizza parties, ribbons and certificates," Ms. Wortham said.

She said that while many students still lag behind the national averages in academics, the school increased the number of children who are performing up to their grade levels in basic skills.

Mount Washington was honored for overall excellence and for its "creative curriculum and varied extracurricular activities, nurturing teachers, and supportive parent and community members," Redbook said.

Joe Wilson, principal of Mount Washington, said he believes his school was chosen as one of the best because "our teachers are very creative and willing to take risks. Every day you'll find somebody working on something innovative."

He also said his school has a strong Parent Teacher Organization that "is supportive well beyond raising money."

Mr. Wilson said parents volunteer for various activities, including a parent-run art appreciation program.

The school also has an award-winning Chess Club, and several students participated in CenterStage's Shakespeare festival last year.

Both Baltimore schools were nominated by the State Department of Education. In all, Redbook considered 550 nominees and named 177 public elementary schools as America's best.

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