Three Local High Schools Among Ten Selected as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence

November 18, 1999
Damascus, Paint Branch and Richard Montgomery high schools are among 10 public middle and high schools in Maryland selected to receive a state Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award. The three will be among the state nominees for the prestigious national Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

The schools were selected by the Maryland State Department of Education for their outstanding instructional programs, high academic expectations, excellent school climate, exceptional student performance results, and strong parental and community involvement. The rigorous selection process included the review of a 40-page application packet by a panel of former Blue Ribbon principals and senior administrators.

"I extend congratulations to principals Robert Bastress of Damascus, Fred Lowenbach of Paint Branch and Mark Kelsch of Richard Montgomery, and to their staff and school communities, for this outstanding achievement," said superintendent Jerry D. Weast.

The other Maryland winners for 1999 are from Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Washington and Worcester counties.

Maryland's Blue Ribbon schools will become part of a state network of Blue Ribbon schools working with the Maryland State Department of Education in school improvement and policy. Each school will receive a Maryland Blue Ribbon flag and a $1,000 cash award from the department.

The State Board of Education will recognize the schools on December 8 at its meeting. The schools will be honored by the Maryland legislature in January 2000, and the governor and State Department of Education will hold an awards gala next April 27.

As state nominees for the national awards, Damascus, Paint Branch, Richard Montgomery and the other Maryland schools will undergo review by a panel of educators assembled by the U.S. Department of Education. The panel should select candidates in February for on-site visits.

Since the national recognition program began in 1982, county public schools have won 26 national awards for elementary and secondary schools. Awards are given in alternate years to elementary and secondary schools throughout the nation.

Past national winners are: Ashburton, Brooke Grove, College Gardens, Bells Mill, Whetstone, North Chevy Chase, Diamond, Gaithersburg, Candlewood, Lake Seneca, Burtonsville, Chevy Chase and Burning Tree elementary schools; Redland, William H. Farquhar, White Oak, Parkland, Westland and Herbert Hoover middle schools; Poolesville Middle School/High School; and Thomas S. Wootton, Richard Montgomery, Winston Churchill, and Walter Johnson high schools.

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