This afternoon, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon recognized Urbana Elementary in Frederick County (UES) as one of only six 2017-2018 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools, and the only winner from Frederick County.
Each of Maryland’s Blue Ribbon Schools this year “is laser-focused on student success,” says Dr. Salmon. “Creative teachers work with engaged and dedicated administrators to develop strong learning environments.”
At Urbana Elementary, more than 700 students and nearly 70 staff members learned the exciting news from a message that Principal Tess Blumenthal pre-recorded to play when the award was made public at the Maryland State Board of Education meeting in Baltimore. She also sent congratulations to the school’s family and community members via FindOutFirst email.
The Blue Ribbon award honors UES as an exemplary school where students achieve at very high levels. Maryland has joined the U.S. Department of Education each year since 1982 in seeking out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals or have made significant progress closing gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. This year, the Maryland winners were all selected for high achievement.
Achieving a 97.4% average attendance rate, UES offers inclusive special-education pre-kindergarten classes and three classes for students identified as advanced learners in grades three, four and five. With the PTA, students participate in community and global outreach activities such as collecting over 500 pairs of socks for Socktober and more than $650 in coins to support the National PTA Disaster Relief Fund. UES sponsors a Helping All With Kindness (HAWK) Club to promote a culture of kindness throughout the school community. A Buddy Class Program helps students mentor those in other grade levels. Overall, according to Principal Blumenthal, school-wide emphasis is on scholastic achievement along with rigor, relevance and relationships.
“Public schools in Frederick County continue to perform at exceptional levels. The well-earned recognition for Urbana Elementary is the latest example,” says FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “Urbana Elementary consistently demonstrates our core values of outstanding academic achievement, focused and caring leadership, and genuine community engagement and collaboration. The students, parents, teachers, administrators at Urbana Elementary have so much to be proud of – and I am so proud of them!”
Urbana Elementary will receive a proclamation from the Governor, a Maryland Blue Ribbon School flag, gifts and prizes for classroom use, a school-wide celebration and honors from the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate at a State dinner in Annapolis. The State Superintendent, elected officials, corporate sponsors, and other dignitaries will visit UES during a Blue Ribbon School Tour of Excellence.
Eleven Frederick County public schools have received national Blue Ribbon School awards: Centerville Elementary—2017, Kemptown Elementary—2015, New Market Elementary—2010, Windsor Knolls Middle—2002, Middletown Middle—1998, Yellow Springs Elementary—1994, Frederick High and Linganore High—1993, Gov. Thomas Johnson High—1991, Middletown Elementary—1990 and Middletown High—1987.
Urbana Elementary is in the running for national Blue Ribbon School recognition.