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

Curb Your Appetite: Save Bread For The End Of The Meal

A hot bread basket is a tasty way to start off dinner. But all those carbs before the main fare can amp up appetite and spike blood sugar. Saving the carbs for the end of the meal can help avert that.
NPR

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

Eons ago, cabbage butterfly larvae and the plants they eat began an evolutionary arms race. The result: "mustard oil bombs" that give the plants, and condiments we make from them, distinctive flavors.
WAMU 88.5

Troubles In Puerto Rico And Greece And What They Mean For Other Economies

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory cannot pay its billions in debt. Like Greece, it faces a long road to stability. We look at the fundamental economic problems in Puerto Rico and Greece, and how they could affect economies in the U.S. and worldwide.

WAMU 88.5

Pop Culture Trends in Video Gaming

More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.

Leave a Comment

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