Rosedale school scales the blue-ribbon heights

January 12, 2007|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN REPORTER

The din of more than 400 chattering children filled the gymnasium at Red House Run Elementary in Rosedale, where the students gathered yesterday morning for what they thought was a typical "Spirit Day" assembly.

No one seemed to sense that anything unusual was happening when the school's principal, Pat Lawton, told them that the dignitaries at the front of the gym were there to "honor you and your teachers for your incredible work, your tenacity, your perseverance and for your spirit, the very best part of you."

But when state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick draped a medal hanging from a bright blue ribbon around Lawton's neck and asked a student to read the medal's inscription, the children figured out that this was no ordinary assembly.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun on Red House Run Elementary School's being named a Blue Ribbon school contained an inaccurate description of part of the ceremony. It should have said that state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick draped a medal around her own neck, rather than around school principal Pat Lawton's neck.
The Sun regrets the error.

"Red House Run is one of only seven to be named a Maryland Blue Ribbon school," Grasmick announced. To underscore the distinction, she told the students that there are 1,600 schools in the state.

The children, teachers and staff members erupted in applause and cheers.

"This is a school where students are learning," Grasmick said. "This is a school where students care about their school."

Red House Run Elementary joins other schools that were designated Blue Ribbon Schools last month based on the 2005-2006 Maryland School Assessment.

The schools chosen had to score in the top 10 percent of all schools on the MSA or serve economically disadvantaged communities and show improvements in test scores over three years. The latter schools also must show scores in the top 40 percent statewide.

Also honored were George Washington Elementary in Baltimore, Hereford Middle in Baltimore County, Burleigh Manor Middle and River Hill High in Howard County, Heather Hills Elementary in Prince George's County and Winston Churchill High in Montgomery County.

State school officials, who usually name all of the Blue Ribbon schools at the same time, said Red House Run was added belatedly, in part because it was likely to meet more rigid federal guidelines to be nominated for national Blue Ribbon status.

The state may nominate up to six schools for the national honor, which means that one of the schools named last month is likely not to be forwarded for consideration.

Red House Run, where about 40 percent of its students receive free and reduced-priced meals, has shown significant progress on statewide assessments. Of last year's third-graders, 98 percent scored proficient or advanced on the MSA reading exam, compared with a statewide average of 78.3 percent proficient or advanced.

Overall, Red House Run third-, fourth- and fifth-graders scored well above statewide averages last year on the reading and math MSA tests.

The school was also recognized for its community involvement, including annual food drives for area children.

As a reward, Red House Run will receive $2,000, a plaque, books and a flag emblazoned with the Blue Ribbon seal to display outside the school.

Aivana Hoang, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, said she knew her school was good but had no idea it was one of the state's best.

"Now everyone else will know, too," she said.

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