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Three schools earn money for improvements

November 26, 1996

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Three Washington County middle schools can take their students' achievements to the bank, thanks to a new incentive program that provides cash awards to steadily improving Maryland public schools.

On Tuesday, the three schools - Springfield Middle School, Clear Spring Middle School and Northern Middle School - were awarded a total of $80,094 from the Maryland State Department of Education's School Performance Recognition Program, according to state school officials.

Statewide, 102 middle and elementary schools were recognized with cash awards, totaling $2.75 million, for making "substantial and sustained progress" toward achieving state standards for school performance over the past two years, school officials said.

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An additional 422 schools - 13 in Washington County - received recognition certificates for significant improvement over the past year.

A formal awards presentation was made Tuesday morning by Gov. Parris N. Glendening in Greenbelt, Md.

In the afternoon, the 16 Washington County principals were recognized by county school officials in a short ceremony attended by county commissioners at Western Heights Middle School.

The awards are based on state-established performance criteria, including standardized test scores and attendance, said Washington County Schools Superintendent Wayne F. Gersen, who remarked on how the 16 recognized schools are spread through the county.

The money can be used for a variety of purposes, like buying instructional materials, adding computers and other technology, and funding staff development, Gersen said.

It can't be used for teacher salaries or bonuses, nor can the money be taken into consideration in school board budgeting, he said.

While school improvement teams will control how the money is spent, all three principals said they foresee at least some of it going to improve technology in their schools.

"We're really excited," said Springfield Middle School Principal Roger Stenersen, whose school received $28,555. "We've made progress and we're being recognized. This is kind of the missing piece to the school improvement puzzle."

Students, parents and teachers worked hard toward the state's goals, said Northern Middle School Principal Richard Gehrman, whose school received $32,651.

While it took a group effort, the progress couldn't have happened without the dedication of teachers, said Clear Spring Middle School Principal Jim Conrad, whose school received $18,888.

Schools awarded School Performance Recognition Certificates were: Sharpsburg Elementary, Williamsport Elementary, Hancock Middle/Senior High, Boonsboro Middle, Boonsboro Elementary, Smithsburg Elementary, Old Forge Elementary, Funkstown Elementary, Pleasant Valley Elementary, Cascade School, Greenbrier Elementary, Winter Street Elementary and Salem Avenue Elementary

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