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Hickory Elementary earns Blue Ribbon

School is one of six named statewide

School is one of six named statewide

December 19, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HALFWAY ? Catherine Scuffins says Hickory Elementary School students are "beating the odds."

They have high standardized test scores despite having 55 percent of the school's 300 students living in poverty.

On Wednesday, they became one of six Maryland schools to receive the Blue Ribbon award. The state and national program recognizes schools that perform at high levels, or significantly improve reading and math scores, Washington County Public Schools Director for Elementary Education Jill Burkhart said.

Scuffins called the Blue Ribbon "a very prestigious award."

Fifth-grade reading and math scores were in the top 30 percent of schools statewide, Scuffins said.

'There's a significant obvious difference'

In 2007, 87.2 percent of Hickory's fifth-graders were proficient or advanced in reading ? an increase of 20.5 percentage points over the year before, according to state data.

In 2001, 93.6 percent of students were proficient or advanced in reading. That is nearly 30 percentage points higher than in 2006, according to state data.

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"It's visible from walking in the school three or four years ago ... there's a significant obvious difference in the school community," Burkhart said.

Schools in Anne Arundel, Allegany, Carroll and Harford counties, and Baltimore City also were recognized Wednesday.

School could win national award

"This is wonderful news for Hickory," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "I am so pleased that the hard work of the staff on behalf of the students has been recognized."

Scuffins says her school could go on to win a national Blue Ribbon award, which will be announced next year.

"It is such an outstanding recognition for our school," she said. "It proves to our families and the community and our kids that we set high expectations, and we get high levels of achievement."

Scuffins said the credit for the achievement goes to the teachers, parents and students at Hickory Elementary.

"We have wonderful kids who go above and beyond," she said.

And while she isn't certain her students will know what a Blue Ribbon award is, she does know they'll be pleased with their reward ? a pizza party.

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