Shipley’s Choice Elementary School made history today when it became the first county school ever to twice be named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

shipleys-choice-br1-small shipleys-choice-br5-smallThe school was one of six named as winners today of the prestigious state honor given by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Shipley’s Choice was the county’s first Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1995-96.

“This is just an incredible feeling, and an honor in which our entire school community shares,” said Shipley’s Choice Principal Beth Burke, who was joined by several staff members this morning at the surprise announcement at MSDE headquarters in Baltimore. “The tradition of excellence that has been built at our school is a credit to our awesome staff, parents, and students, as well as to those who came before us. They set the standard to which we aspire, and we are indebted to them for their work as well.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors schools that excel or significantly improve in reading and math exams as measured by state assessments. In order to achieve Blue Ribbon status, schools must meet standards established by the Maryland and U.S. departments of education.

Shipley’s Choice has historically been among the highest-performing schools in Maryland on statewide assessments. Last year, more than 89 percent of the school’s third- through fifth-graders scored a 4 or 5 – the level designated as indicating students are on pace to be College and Career Ready – on the PARCC Math assessment, and nearly 88 percent hit that mark on the English/Language Arts assessment. More than 95 percent of students in grades 3 through 5 scored proficient or advanced on the Maryland School Assessment, the precursor to PARCC, in each of the final four years of the assessment.

Today’s announcement marks the 10th time in the last 12 years that at least one AACPS school has been recognized for the Blue Ribbon honor. It is the fifth Blue Ribbon award for AACPS in the last three years.

Shipley’s Choice is now eligible to become a National Blue Ribbon school, a feat accomplished by 17 other county schools. Arnold and Pasadena elementary schools were named 2016 National Blue Ribbon winners.