Congratulations are in order for the faculty, staff and students at Ring Factory Elementary School in Bel Air for being one of six Maryland schools recognized as a Blue Ribbon School Tuesday morning.
Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard Sadusky announced Maryland's six honorees, who will go on to compete in the National Blue Ribbon Awards, which will be announced in September by the U.S. Department of Education.
"Very excited. We're ecstatic," Ring Factory Principal H. Earl Gaskins said about the honor. "It feels very nice to be recognized for the work the teachers are doing and the students have been doing consistently for years."
Gaskins credits the honor to the mission the school strives for each day: "Reaching new heights in learning."
"Everything we do is dedicated to that [goal]," he said.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, the Blue Ribbon Schools program awards institutions around the state — and country — that have shown high achievement and/or improvement in reading and math, as measured by the state's assessments, school leadership and professional development.
"The work done in these schools is emblematic of the fine instruction taking place throughout our school system," said Sadusky in a press release. "We congratulate these schools and know they will represent Maryland education well in the national competition."
On the Maryland State Department of Education website, marylandpublicschools.org, Ring Factory is profiled as having more than 98 percent of its students proficient and above in math and 98 percent proficient and above in reading.
Ring Factory, the profile continued, has been designated a Maryland Physical Education Demonstration School for 2011-13 by the Maryland Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The school is also a recipient of the Maryland Character Education School of the Year Award.
The five other schools recognized statewide were Crofton Meadows Elementary in Anne Arundel County, Woodholme Elementary in Baltimore County, Rachel Carson Elementary in Montgomery County, Whitehall Elementary in Prince George's County and Pocomoke Elementary in Worcester County.
According to its Harford County Public Schools website, Ring Factory Elementary has 543 students. The school, which is in the 1400 block of Emmorton Road, opened in 1990.
The last school in Harford to receive the Blue Ribbon School honor was Hickory Elementary School in 2007.