North Harford Middle School joined the ranks of Maryland Blue Ribbon schools last week when it became one of eight secondary schools to be recognized by the state Department of Education.
"It's a great thing for the school," said Principal Gerald E. Scarborough. "We received some excellent ratings. . . . The 100 members of the entire staff should be proud of their accomplishments. It is a reward they deserve."
Dr. Scarborough said he was pleased, but not surprised, that the school had been chosen as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. "I knew it nine years ago when I got here," he said. "It had such outstanding staff and programs."
The school's 1,057 students also were excited by the news. "They were so proud of themselves," Dr. Scarborough said.
Blue Ribbon schools are chosen for their community involvement, student achievement, character development and improvement efforts, Dr. Scarborough said.
The names of the winning schools were released last week by Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, the state school superintendent. The schools will be honored in a ceremony and at a state banquet.
"These eight schools are examples of the kind of educational excellence we strive for in all our Maryland schools," Dr. Grasmick said. "As we move forward with school improvement in all regions of our state, we can look to these outstanding nominees to see what has worked well."
The other Blue Ribbon schools are Dulaney High School in Baltimore County, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Charles County, Catoctin High School in Frederick County, Howard High School in Howard County, Walter Johnson High School and Herbert Hoover Middle School in Montgomery County, and Stevensville Middle School in Queen Anne's County.
A Harford Middle School team worked for almost three months assembling a 48-question, 43-page package espousing the school's merits, Dr. Scarborough said. He cited the school's drama department, computer labs and parent involvement program as accomplishments.
The school will be considered for the U.S. Department of Education's national Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence award, which will be announced in December.
Past Harford County Blue Ribbon schools are Havre de Grace High School, a national winner in 1991, and Jarrettsville Elementary, a 1992 state winner.