Elementary School In Maryland Wins Prestigious Blue Ribbon Award | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Elementary School In Maryland Wins Prestigious Blue Ribbon Award

Play associated audio

An elementary school in Maryland is being hailed as a national blue ribbon winner, only five years after failing to meet the state's most basic standards.

At the lunch table at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, 9-year-olds boast about their favorite subjects and how many points for good behavior they've accumulated.

Eighty Percent of students here are at or below the poverty line, almost as many are from families that don't speak English. In 2004, student performance was so poor that the state was on the verge of taking over the school.

"Reading scores were really about as low as you can get," says Principal Ray Myrtle. Myrtle came out of retirement to turn things around, introducing a broader vision for teachers and promoting an aggressive literacy campaign. He emphasized non-fiction as a way to build vocabulary. He revamped the way the school disciplines students: keep them in the classroom but reward the well-behaving students with parties and prizes.

Now, almost every fifth grader is proficient or advanced in reading, according to state standards, and more than half of them take math classes that are above their grade-levels.

Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick says the state is studying the school to use as an example for others in the state and the country. "This school defies those odds and serves as a beacon for every school in the state of Maryland which has challenges," says Grasmick.

The school is being held up as a model nationwide.

Sabri Ben-Achour reports...

NPR

Mega-Rich Invest In Works By Living Artists

Renee Montagne talks to art sociologist and writer Sarah Thornton about how the habits of the 1 percent reverberate across the art world. She is the author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts.
NPR

Nigella Lawson Loves Leftovers And Knows How To Use Them

If you don't want to eat endless turkey sandwiches, there's plenty else you can make. David Greene talks to cookbook author Nigella Lawson about what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers.
NPR

Pentagon Expected To Release More Detainees From Guantanamo

Since the midterm elections, there has been a new batch of transfers from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more releases are in the works. But a new GOP Congress could stall the drive to empty Guantanamo.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.