Schools enjoy success, monetary recognition at awards ceremony

November 27, 1996|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Michael James and Marego Athans contributed to this article.

Baltimore County racked up three distinctions yesterday in the state's School Performance Recognition Awards ceremony. It had the highest number of schools to receive money, 16; the largest amount of money of any school system, $453,250; and the single largest school award, $51,394 to Perry Hall Middle School.

"We're feeling pretty good," said Anthony G. Marchione, county superintendent.

Four Baltimore City schools -- Barclay, Cross Country, Curtis Bay elementaries and Canton Middle -- took home monetary awards, totaling more than $105,000.

In addition, 25 city schools -- including Furman L. Templeton Elementary, ranked as the lowest performing elementary in the state -- received certificates for the improvement they made in state standards in 1995. Forty-two Baltimore County schools received such certificates.

The certificate of improvement was particularly sweet for Carolyn Blackwell, principal of Furman L. Templeton, the Southwest Baltimore school ranked by the state as 791st out of 791 elementaries in the state in 1994.

"It is a vindication for us," said the principal. "We made adjustments after we used the criticism as a third eye toward viewing ourselves."

In the county, Fullerton Elementary, beset this year with recurring mold and air quality problems that eventually closed the school for seven days, reveled in its $24,517 award.

"We've had a difficult beginning of the year," said Principal John Hutchinson. "It's good to get our focus back on education and see the recognition from the governor and the state superintendent of schools."

Fullerton started emphasizing performance-based education -- students being able to apply what they know -- about 10 years ago, he said. Teachers infuse lessons with real-life situations from the community, equipping children not only for the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program tests, but also for life.

Fullerton's fifth-graders are working with a real estate firm to develop a brochure about their area. Calling on their reading, writing and research skills, the youngsters are finding out about the schools, recreation facilities and other benefits of their community, Hutchinson said.

At Perry Hall Middle School, teachers, administrators and parents have used a variety of strategies to raise standards, said Principal Ricky Archambault.

"The basics of everything is good teaching," he said.

In addition, the school uses a skill-of-the-month program to give students extra practice in areas such as organization and writing that are stressed in the annual tests. Perry Hall's PTA also puts together an incentive program that encourages and rewards youngsters during the week of testing each spring.

It takes the whole school to be successful, said Archambault. "We're all in this together."

Pub Date: 11/27/96

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