For 66 schools, progress pays off in cash from state Test scores, attendance are criteria for rewards

November 21, 1997|By Howard Libit and Mary Maushard | Howard Libit and Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Mary Gail Hare, Laura Sullivan and Erin Texeira contributed to this article.

As part of its continued strategy of rewarding high-performing schools while threatening those that are failing, Maryland officials handed out $2.75 million yesterday to 66 elementary and middle schools that have posted significant gains in student achievement.

The schools -- spread across 14 districts and each showing two consecutive years of improvement -- got cash awards of $19,600 to $79,000 in a surprise presentation during a daylong state conference on successful schools at Martin's Eastwind in Essex.

"The awards demonstrate that our schools are working hard to make serious improvements in instruction," said state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick. "The next step is for other schools to learn from these successes and reproduce them."

In the Baltimore area, 37 schools shared more than $1.6 million, including 11 in Baltimore County and three in Baltimore. Anne Arundel County led the way, with 16 schools receiving more than "We are so proud of all our schools," said Nancy Mann, assistant superintendent of instruction in Anne Arundel. "It's been a real morale booster for teachers and the schools to see the fruits of their labors."

State educators gave certificates to 203 other schools, recognizing achievement gains from the 1994-1995 school year to 1995-1996.

More than one out of every four Maryland elementary and middle schools received some kind of recognition for academic improvement yesterday.

The schools that received money were chosen for having made significant gains from spring 1994 to spring 1996 on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program -- given each spring to all third-, fifth- and eighth-graders -- and for improvements in attendance and the scores on tests of basic skills required for high school graduation.

The results of the 1997 performance tests will be released next month.

Second year for rewards

Yesterday marked the second year the state has presented School Performance Recognition Awards. The General Assembly allotted the money last year.

Over the past four years, the state also has identified 52 failing schools, threatening to take them over if they don't turn around.

Furman L. Templeton Elementary School in Baltimore, which was threatened with such a takeover less than three years ago, received $37,091 yesterday.

"Schools that are on the brink of reconstitution can turn themselves around and make real gains," Grasmick said.

The amounts of the bonuses varied with enrollment. The schools may determine how they want to spend the money, as long as it is used for "continuing the progress in student learning" and not for staff bonuses.

Last year, Perry Hall Middle School spent its $51,394 award on a new computer laboratory with 32 computers and three laser printers. This year, the school received $79,091, again the most of any school in the state.

'A real nice position'

"We don't know what we're going to do with the money yet, but it's a real nice position to be in," said Rick Archaumbault, principal of the 1,300-student Baltimore County school.

Bryant Woods Elementary School in Columbia, which has made big gains in reading achievement, received $18,682 last year, which it used to buy a handwriting program, first-grade reading books and a room divider, said Assistant Principal John Hammett.

Bryant Woods, which has about $7,000 left from last year's award, received $28,899 this year.

"I think we will continue to do more of the same," said Hammett, who suggested an after-school homework club as one possibility for the money. "Twenty-nine thousand dollars will go a long way."

Stevens Forest Elementary, which received $30,888, was the only other Howard County school rewarded.

In Carroll County, Carrolltowne and Freedom District elementary schools received $53,285 and $50,065, respectively.

"Whatever happens [with the money] will be good things for children," said Nancy Chapin, principal of Carrolltowne.

In Harford County, Magnolia Elementary received $44,241; Magnolia Middle, $57,688; and Roye Williams Elementary, $47,413.

School awards

These schools in Baltimore and Baltimore County received bonuses from the state yesterday after showing significant improvement on state-required exams and in attendance. Statewide, 66 schools in 14 districts shared $2.75 million in bonuses.

Baltimore

Furman L. Templeton Elementary .. .. ..$37,091

Roland Park Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$77,339

Thomas Johnson Elementary .. .. .. .. .$35,528

Baltimore County

Bedford Elementary .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$32,214

Franklin Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$66,543

Fullerton Elementary .. .. .. .. .. ...$37,375

Glenmar Elementary .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$33,492

Hebbville Elementary .. .. .. .. .. ...$36,239

Perry Hall Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$79,091

Pikesville Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$59,725

Pine Grove Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$71,846

Ridgely Middle .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$62,755

Rodgers Forge Elementary .. .. .. .. ..$39,506

Seven Oaks Elementary .. .. .. .. .. ..$44,998

SOURCE: Maryland State Department of Education

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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