Awards are Mandatory Part of Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
LEONARDTOWN, Md. - The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced today that they recognizing nine elementary schools in St. Mary's County for making gains in student academic performance. The awards program, a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), recognizes schools for the overall achievement of their students on the 2006 Maryland School Assessment and for the achievement of special populations for two years. Special populations, identified under NCLB, include race/ethnicity, special education, limited English proficient, and those receiving free or reduced price meals. St. Mary's County Public Schools has nine schools recognized in 2006 for their overall achievement and/or achievement by special populations.
NCLB focuses on math and reading test scores. Critics of the program say that many schools are forced to "teach to the test" whereby teachers focus only on the skills and understanding necessary to do well on the test at the expense of a more in-depth understanding of the problem and development of problem-solving and reasoning skills. Others argue that NCLB is not properly funded and places additional financial burdens on the local school districts.
Title I elementary schools will each receive a modest financial award. All recognized schools will receive certificates of recognition for public display. High schools will be recognized at a later date when the high school data is available.
The following St. Mary's County Public Schools are recipients of this award:
* George Washington Carver Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, $2745.82
* Greenview Knolls Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, Certificate
* Hollywood Elementary, Overall Achievement and Subgroup Achievement, Certificate
* Leonardtown Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, Certificate
* Mechanicsville Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, Certificate
* Oakville Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, Certificate
* Piney Point Elementary, Overall Achievement, Certificate
* Ridge Elementary, Subgroup Achievement, $2745.82
* Town Creek Elementary, Overall Achievement, Certificate
"We applaud the efforts of our schools' staff and students, and are extremely proud of their hard work and dedication," said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools. "Each school is focused on meeting the needs of every child. Their targeted interventions and approaches are yielding positive and improved academic results for all children."
Some schools are being recognized for both overall achievement and performance improvement of special populations. The awards are based on the spring 2006 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in both reading and math for grades 3, 5, 8 and 10.
The Title I financial awards can be used for activities and equipment to improve student performance. The School Improvement Team in each Title I school decides how the funds can best benefit students and instruction.
The Maryland School Performance Recognition Program was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1996 as a way to recognize schools for their students' achievement on state tests. The program, which publicly recognizes the work of teachers, principals, parents, and community members in helping to improve student learning, was modified slightly in 2003 to make it compatible with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.