16 county schools awarded almost $600,000 by state Funds reward gains on tests, attendance

November 21, 1997|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Howard Libit contributed to this article.

Anne Arundel County took home the cake, the icing and even the plate at a state school conference yesterday when 16 county schools were awarded nearly $600,000 for making huge gains in state test scores.

The county won not only more money than any other in the state, but more than one-fifth of the pot.

"We are so proud of all our schools," said Nancy Mann, the county's superintendent of instruction. "It's been a real morale booster for teachers and the schools to see the fruits of their labors."

The state gave $2.75 million to Maryland schools as part of a 2-year-old program to reward schools that show significant improvements in attendance and on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests given annually to third-, fifth- and eighth-graders.

"When we released the test scores last year, Anne Arundel County was the only large school district who demonstrated significant improvement," said Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools. "It really shows that they have made a serious commitment to focusing their schools on improving instruction."

To qualify for an award, a school's scores must improve over two years, regardless of what the final score is. The award money is divided, with bigger schools generally receiving the larger shares, state school officials said.

Severna Park Middle received the third-highest reward in the state -- $72,367 -- almost double what most schools got.

It matters little whether a school appears to need money more than another.

"It's purely formulaic," said state schools spokesman Charles Herndon. "The size of the award is mostly about the size of enrollment. This is a reward. It's the state's way of saying thank you for a job well done."

Prince George's County, which won $303,861, and Baltimore County, which received $563,784, came closest to matching Anne Arundel's prize.

Five counties -- Carroll, Harford, Montgomery, Frederick and Washington -- and Baltimore City received more than $100,000.

No money went to eight Eastern Shore counties -- Talbot, Somerset, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Wicomico -- and Garrett County in Western Maryland.

Every county had at least two schools with honorable mentions -- which makes them eligible for a reward next year. Anne Arundel had 17 such schools.

Last year, 11 schools in Anne Arundel received $254,000.

A school can spend the money as it wants, as long as it goes toward improvements -- anything from new buildings to new programs to new equipment. It cannot go to teacher raises.

State officials said $2.5 million is allotted for next year's program. The results of the 1997 MSPAP tests are to be released next month.

For Anne Arundel schools, the challenge is to keep the test scores improving. "It's going to be difficult," Mann said, "but I know our schools are up to it."

Winning schools

These 16 Anne Arundel schools were rewarded for improved performance:

Elementary schools

Brooklyn Park .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$36,570

Deale .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$23,217

Eastport .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$24,685

Four Seasons .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$47,508

Freetown .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$35,434

Germantown .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$35,718

Glen Burnie Park .. .. .. .. .. ..$33,871

Glendale .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$36,759

Marley .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$39,364

Oak Hill .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$37,754

Pasadena .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$34,676

Quarterfield .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$37,659

Solley .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$36,759

South Shore .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .$24,353

West Annapolis .. .. .. .. .. .. .$25,585

Middle school

Severna Park .. .. .. .. .. .. ...$72,367

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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