Linthicum Elementary School today was named a National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, becoming the 13th county school and the first in the North County cluster to receive the prestigious honor.

Linthicum, one of 337 schools across the nation to be recognized today, is the fifth county school in the last seven years to receive the distinction. The 483-student school is one of 10 Maryland public and private schools to receive the honor.

“This is just incredible because it is validation of the incredibly hard work that everyone involved at our school does every day for children,” Linthicum Principal Fran Nussle said. “Our teachers, staff, students, parents, and community partners all play critical roles in our success, and every single one of them shares in this honor.”

National Blue Ribbon Schools are awarded based on one of two criteria: the ability of schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds to dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; or schools whose students, regardless of background, rank among their state’s highest performing schools on state assessments.

““These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or ZIP code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said in making the announcement. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

The school’s intense focus on increasing rigor and providing differentiated support for students has been met with outstanding success, with 97.8 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in math and 96.9 percent hitting the mark in reading on the 2012-13 Maryland School Assessments. There was virtually no achievement gap with regard to students receiving free and reduced-price meals, as 98.1 percent were proficient or advanced in math and 96.1 reached the mark in reading. Overall, 59.1 percent of students scored advanced in math and 57.3 percent were advanced in reading.

Linthicum has also cultivated many external partnerships with its community and business partners, including mentor programs for students with BWI Doubletree Hotel and AETNA employees. The school is a Professional Development School for Goucher College, and students from nearby North County High School work with Linthicum students as well.

The school’s PTA has been integral to its success and has supported teachers through a variety of initiatives, including raising funds to purchase SmartBoards for every classroom to increase the use of technology in lessons.

“Linthicum is just one of those schools that quietly goes about the business of achieving excellence in the education of its children,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Every time I visit the school I see great things happening in classrooms, and this recognition is a testament to that great work.”

In addition to Linthicum, Benfield (2000-01), Bodkin (2000-01), Broadneck (2007-08), Crofton Meadows (2011-2012), Folger McKinsey (2004-05), Jones (2002-03), Mayo (1996-97), Oak Hill (1998-99), and West Annapolis (1998-99) elementary schools; Severna Park Middle School (2005-06); and Severna Park (2010-11) and Southern (2008-09) high schools have earned National Blue Ribbon distinction.

The school will be honored by Secretary Duncan at an awards conference in Washington, D.C., on November 10 and 11.

History of AACPS Blue Ribbon Schools