2016-17 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools named

Shipleys Choice BR1 smallShipley's Choice Elementary in Severna Park, Sunderland Elementary in Sunderland and Manor Woods Elementary in Ellicott City were among six Maryland public schools selected as 2016-17 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools today.


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This is the second time Shipley's Choice has been named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School and is the first school in Anne Arundel County to receive the distinction twice.

“The Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools represent the thoughtful work taking place at public schools throughout our state, as they prepare students for the next grade or the next step in life,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “When schools succeed at this level it is a tribute to all: students, teachers, administrators, and community members. They all deserve our congratulations and admiration.”

The other schools included:

  • Centerville Elementary School, Frederick County
  • Ronald McNair Elementary School, Montgomery County
  • Farmland Elementary School, Montgomery County

The schools are recognized on the basis of rigorous state and national requirements for high achievement and significant improvement. The students in each of these schools are high achievers in reading and mathematics, and several have a significant number of disadvantaged students.

The schools will be invited by the U.S. Department of Education to apply to be National Blue Ribbon Schools. With underwriting and gift sponsor support, each school will receive a Maryland Blue Ribbon Flag, a monetary prize, $1000 of office supplies, interactive technology equipment, and a school Congratulations Party. A dinner in Annapolis will be held in honor of the winning schools on March 13, 2017. On that date, each Blue Ribbon School will be honored by the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate.

Shipley’s Choice Elementary

Shipley’s Choice students have consistently excelled on local and state assessments. For this year’s PARCC assessments, math scores were 89.4 percent proficient and above and English/language arts scores were 86.9 percent. In addition to classroom instruction that incorporates STEM activities, a strong writing curriculum, and infusion of technology to foster learning at the highest levels, students benefit from a wide array of extracurricular opportunities. The Makerspace Club, for example, includes almost 100 fourth- and fifth-grade students. Many students also participate in the First Lego League, Running Club, Dance Club, and Mini Rock & Roll Revival Concert. In addition, students participate in service projects, such as supporting children at the Johns Hopkins Oncology unit or supporting soldiers through Operation Welcome Home. The environmental committee also has created an outdoor classroom and teaches students about recycling and conservation.

“This is just an incredible feeling, and an honor in which our entire school community shares,” said Shipley’s Choice Principal Beth Burke, who was joined by several staff members this morning at the surprise announcement at MSDE headquarters in Baltimore. “The tradition of excellence that has been built at our school is a credit to our awesome staff, parents, and students, as well as to those who came before us. They set the standard to which we aspire, and we are indebted to them for their work as well.”

Sunderland Elementary School

Sunderland Elementary students scored overall at 73 percent proficient or above in math and 70 percent in English/language arts areas of PARCC. The school encourages volunteerism and has a Family Student Organization (FSO) that also assists with fundraising efforts. All students become “future ready” by using iPads, HP Streambooks, document cameras, SMARTBoards and computers. In grades 4 and 5, a 1:1 device program has students utilizing technology in daily instruction. The school offers services for special needs students, as well as regional programs that include Inclusive Pre-K, Co-Taught Kindergarten and HeadStart. The Seahawk Kindness Crew works in partnership with Huntingtown High School’s Key Club to foster respect and kindness. Community partnerships with local churches provide support for families in the school though the HeartFelt Backpack Program and The Angel Tree Project.

Manor Woods Elementary School

Manor Woods Elementary, with more than 700 students, emphasizes respect among teachers, students, and community members. Students’ PARCC scores showed proficiency of 75 percent in math and 71 percent in English/language arts. Manor Woods is a Maryland Green School. Its PBIS program provides positive reinforcement to students for demonstrating respect, responsibility and readiness. The school excels in the arts, with nearly 300 students participating in the Manor Woods band and strings programs. The school’s students also participate in district-level honors chorus, and are represented in visual arts at local and statewide shows. Students are also strongly committed to community service and participate in local food drives as well as in the Grassroots Change Matters campaign, and Heavenly Hats programs.

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