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Pine Grove Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education today announced that Pine Grove Elementary School in Parkville has been named a National Blue Ribbon School, one of 355 schools across the nation recognized this year.

“I am so proud that the hard work of the students, staff, and community of Pine Grove Elementary School is being recognized with a National Blue Ribbon," said BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance.
“Under the leadership of Principal Jean Wilson, Pine Grove has strengthened its rigorous academics, nurturing learning atmosphere, and strong sense of community pride. Those elements combine to make the school an exemplar worthy of the National Blue Ribbon designation."
 
Wilson surprised the school community by announcing the honor today at the conclusion of its Pinwheels for Peace event. All in attendance received blue elastic bracelets and sang an original song (written by teacher Justin Pugh) to commemorate the event. They then watched U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan make the blue ribbon announcement via the department's USTREAM channel. As they watched Duncan’s speech, Pine Grove students and staff ate a “taste of success" treat provided by the school’s PTA. According to Wilson, the Oreo cookies represented an “Outstanding school Reaching for Excellence for One and All." Students left school with a letter for their parents announcing the honor and highlighting the school’s many accomplishments.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to work in a school community where the students, staff, and families are so dedicated to learning and supporting each other," said Wilson.
“There is a fine tradition of excellence at Pine Grove Elementary, and I am thrilled for the students, staff, and parents to be receiving this well-deserved recognition. Pine Grove has an extremely dedicated faculty and staff who care about each child and work diligently to meet their academic, social and emotional needs. They go above and beyond to provide rigorous and differentiated instruction so that all students will excel," she said. “Our parents and PTA are tremendously supportive and provide many activities that contribute to increased achievement and enjoyment for the students."

“Being a National Blue Ribbon School," Wilson added, “is clearly a huge cause for celebration and pride; in keeping with our beliefs, it also will be an inspiration to us to continue to reach even greater heights for our students!"

At Pine Grove Elementary, 96 percent of students in Grades 3-5 scored proficient or advanced in reading and mathematics on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) from 2009 through 2014. Students from various racial and ethnic groups, along with English language learners, special needs students, and those receiving free and reduced meals all attained 91% proficiency, or higher, on reading and mathematics assessments.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement. This year the program is honoring 285 public and 50 private schools. In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on more than 8,000 of America’s schools.

“This honor recognizes your students’ accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success," Duncan said in a video message to the awardees. “Your journey has taught you collaboration, intentional instruction, and strong relationships in school and with your community. You represent excellence—in vision, in implementation, and in results—and we want to learn as much as we can from you."

In total, 21 BCPS schools have earned Maryland Blue Ribbons, with 18 of those going on to earn national Blue Ribbon honors. Schools previously designated as National Blue Ribbon Schools in Baltimore County include Carroll Manor, Chadwick, Charlesmont, Middlesex, Red House Run, Riderwood, Seventh District, Sparks, Summit Park, Timonium, and Woodholme elementary schools; Dumbarton, Hereford, and Ridgely middle schools; and Eastern Tech, Towson and Western Tech. high schools.
This is the seventh year in a row that BCPS has celebrated a National Blue Ribbon designation for one of its schools.