Pointers Run Elementary named Blue Ribbon School

November 06, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Pointers Run Elementary School was named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence this week, one of 11 elementaries recognized by the state Department of Education.

The elementary school will compete with schools across the country for a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award, given each year by the U.S. Department of Education.

Opened in 1991, Pointers Run earned the state distinction in its first year of eligibility. Schools must be open five years before they're allowed to apply for the award. The award recognizes quality in instructional programs, teacher development and community involvement.

"We're really excited and honored," said Andrew Barshinger, principal of the 900-student school. "Everyone has worked hard to become a Blue Ribbon School, and it's great that the state recognized our efforts."

Among the reasons Pointers Run was honored was the school's work with Johns Hopkins University as a professional development school. Student teachers in the Hopkins master's degree program spend a year teaching at Pointers Run and Swansfield elementaries, and experienced teachers at the schools serve as mentors for the students. The program also allows teachers at Pointers Run to learn from the Hopkins faculty.

Some of the Howard school system's efforts at the inclusion of special education students in regular classrooms have been tried at Pointers Run.

The school also was one of the first to join Howard's school-based management program, which gives individual schools a greater say in instructional and financial decisions. Schools in the program typically rely on committees of staff and parents to help guide administrators in school decisions.

Barshinger "is great to work with," said Debra Bloome, Pointers Run PTA president. "He really tries to encourage an active PTA and welcomes many parent volunteers."

Barshinger said he expects Pointers Run to be asked to participate in the state's Sister Schools program, which pairs blue ribbon schools with underachieving schools elsewhere in Maryland.

Howard High School -- recognized last year as a state and national blue ribbon school -- was one of the first Maryland schools to join the Sister Schools program. Atholton High School was honored as a state and national blue ribbon school in 1993.

Elementary schools also were recognized this week in Baltimore and in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Montgomery, Prince George's and Wicomico counties.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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