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Maryland ranked No. 1 in education

Washington Co. officials proud to contribute to effort

Washington Co. officials proud to contribute to effort

January 08, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Maryland was ranked No. 1 in the nation in education this week in an annual report, and Washington County officials said they are proud to have contributed to that success.

Local educators point to increased graduation rates, lower dropout rates and improved student testing results as some ways the local system contributed to the ranking.

"We're very proud to be part of that success," Washington County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Donna Hanlin said.

Education Week, a national education newspaper, examined data in six categories over the past two years and ranked Maryland first based on student performance and state education policies, according to a press release from the Maryland State Department of Education. See the report at www.edweek.org.

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Maryland was ranked third in last year's report prepared by Education Week."I'm very proud of the students and the teachers and administrators in the state of Maryland," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "I feel (WCPS) has definitely contributed our share to making Maryland No. 1 in the country."

Morgan said the attitude of State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick that every child can succeed trickles down to all 24 systems and played a part in the state's success.

"It's about an attitude of providing the very best for students, regardless of backgrounds and ability levels," Morgan said. "And I think that's what made the difference in Washington County ... the attitude of leaving no child behind."

Hanlin said one of the local school system's contributions to the state's ranking was its rate of high school dropouts - now at its lowest point ever. During the 2007-08 school year, 1.67 percent of students dropped out of school - the fourth-lowest rate of the 24 school districts in Maryland.

The percentage of students graduating from high school in the county also is the highest it has ever been, according to data from the 2007-08 school year. During that school year, 91.41 percent of county seniors graduated from high school - the sixth-highest rate in Maryland, according to data released last year.

Maryland School Assessments rose last year, marking the sixth consecutive year of overall improvement by Washington County Public Schools students, according to state data.

"It's very exciting to be a player in a winning team," Washington County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction Michael Markoe said.

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