State Superintendent Recognizes Northern High as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence

Last Updated on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:49am

Dr. Lillian Lowery, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, conducted her Blue Ribbon Tour of Excellence at Northern High School on Thursday, April 24, 2014, from 10:00 – 11:30 AM. During a school-wide assembly, Northern High School was recognized as a 2014 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Northern High is one of six schools in the state to receive the honor. Accompanying Dr. Lowery was Dr. Jack Smith, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning and Chief Academic Officer. In addition, Dr. Darla Strouse, Executive Director of the Office of Partnerships and the Maryland Blue Ribbon Program congratulated the school and introduced several Blue Ribbon School sponsors, including Gil Aragone of NTA Life; Drew McManigle and Chuck Russell of Joe Corby's Pizza; and Elaine Freedman of Lightspeed Technologies.

Members of the Board of Education attended the assembly along with many of the central office administrative staff. Mr. Thomas Carr spoke on behalf of the Board members.

Dr. Lowery highlighted Northern High School’s accomplishments during her speech in front of the entire student body. Highlights included:
  • The U.S. News and World Report Silver Medal;
  • The school has always met the Annual Measurable Objectives and have always made Adequate Yearly Progress in all areas and subgroups;
  • The graduation rate averages over 95%;
  • The teachers are outstanding with 96% of all the Northern faculty members holding an advanced professional certification compared to a state average of 65%;
  • Mr. Derek Berger, science teacher, was named the 2013-2014 Garrett County Teacher of the Year while also receiving the Siemens STARs Fellow Award;
  • The Future Farmers of America organization was named the 2013 Maryland State CTE Student Organization of the Year and has received numerous 1st place awards at Regional and State Competitions;
  • Northern High has been identified as a Maryland Green School due to the excellent environmental awareness projects of the students;
  • Over the past five years, the average HSA proficiency rate in Algebra/Data Analysis has exceeded 92% and has been as high as 98%;
  • English has a proficiency rate that has averaged 90% and was 96% in 2013;
  • With a mere 42 full-time faculty members and a student body of fewer than 500 students, the school currently offers thirteen AP courses;
  • A yearly average of 82 Advanced Placement (AP) exams have been administered over the past five years;
  • Of the average of 60 students who take AP courses, more than 50% score a 3 or better on the exam;
  • The school out-performs the state in students who are Dual Completers by a 26% to 11% margin;
  • The school out-performs the state in students completing their CTE pathway requirements by a 35% to 8% margin;
  • The school has provided services to the community by converting a gas-powered car into an electric-only car, designing and installing solar panels to increase the efficiency of the CTE wing, constructing modular homes to provide low-income housing in the community, and providing the community and school system with pork, potatoes, and eggs, through the agricultural classes;
  • Over 100 students’ artwork has been selected to be displayed in the Annual County-wide Arts Fair over the last 4 years;
  • As seniors, 97.2 % of the 2014 graduating class has scored proficient on the English High School Assessment;
  • The math department gives the University of Maryland Early Mathematics Placement test and this year over 70% of the Algebra II students earned a placement that equals pre-calculus or calculus;
  • Nearly every year, at least one student places in the top 10 students participating in the Allegany College of Maryland Mathematics Competition;
  • In the past year, the Band has won 28 1st place awards in various competitions;
  • The FIRST Robotics Team 1629 recently won the Chesapeake Regional event and will compete soon in the World Championships in St. Louis;
  • The Drama Department has performed 15 different productions in the past four years.
Corporate sponsorship contributes to Blue Ribbon School events as well as gifts and prizes. Each Blue Ribbon School received a monetary award, plaque, Maryland Blue Ribbon Flag and an Honors Reception and Dinner. Additional large gifts for each school included:
  • Smart Interactive White Board, document camera, and a 32 pack student response system donated by SMART Technologies
  • A school-wide pizza party – donated by Joe Corbi’s Pizza
  • A portable sound enhancement system donated by Lightspeed Technologies
  • $1000.00 of school supplies donated by Rudolph's Office and Computer Supply, Inc.

Dr. Lowery visited with students in the classrooms as well as members of the student government after the conclusion of the assembly
The Princepal addressing the student body.Dr. Wilson addressing the staff and students at Northern High School.
Dr. Lowery addressing the staff and students at Northern High School.Mr. Carr, Board member, addressing the staff and students at Northern High School.Northern High Band playing during ceremony.
State Superintendent and GCPS Superintendent with Northern High PrincipalDr. Lowery answering questions from Northern High students.
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