National Math and Science Initiative School of the Year

Aberdeen High School Principal Michael O'Brien, left center, is joined by Boeing representatives, from left, Dave Lockhart, Todd McGregor Yeatts, Michael Reilly and Tom Bartlett as they present the check for $104,200 from the National Math and Science Initiative during Friday morning's ceremony at the school. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, The Aegis / January 17, 2014)

The National Math and Science Initiative presented Aberdeen High School with the organization's School of the Year award Friday for its students' outstanding gains on Advanced Placement test scores during the 2012-13 academic year.

Representatives of NMSI and Boeing, the local program sponsor, presented the award to Aberdeen students and faculty at a special morning celebration, also attended by representatives of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Aberdeen Proving Ground.

NMSI and Harford County Public Schools also held a separate afternoon ceremony at Havre de Grace to honor that school for its AP test score gains.

In recognizing both for their exceptional AP results, NMSI said the two schools together accounted for 14 percent of the entire state's math, science and English increase in AP passing scores and also accounted for 11 percent of the increase in AP passing scores in math and science for females. At Havre de Grace, the NMSI program is sponsored by the Department of Defense Education Activity.

"Aberdeen and Havre de Grace High schools should be applauded for achieving national recognition for their increased participation and qualifying scores in advanced placement coursework," HCPS Interim Superintendent Barbara P. Canavan said in a news release. "We are thrilled that Aberdeen High School has been named NMSI's School of the Year. It is truly an honor that is well deserved. We are grateful to instructional and administrative staff, NMSI, Boeing and DoDEA for providing this unprecedented opportunity to our students."

"NMSI is thrilled to recognize Aberdeen as NMSI School of the Year and to highlight the incredible achievements of these students and teachers, many of whom are directly impacted by the Aberdeen Proving Ground" Gregg Fleisher, NMSI chief academic officer, said in prepared remarks. "Aberdeen's gains in just the first year of the program are truly remarkable, and unsurpassed by any of the schools we work with nationwide."

According to NMSI, Aberdeen High School received the School of the Year recognition after students and teachers achieved unprecedented gains in scores on Advanced Placement math, science and English exams in 2012-2013. This past school year marked the first that Aberdeen participated in NMSI's Comprehensive AP program, which provides teacher training and support, more time on task for students, incentives for students and teachers and other tools for improving teacher effectiveness and student success in rigorous AP and pre-AP coursework.

In 2013, the 52 schools in the NMSI program for military families, including Aberdeen High and Havre de Grace High, saw a 67 percent increase in passing math, science and English AP scores, more than nine times the national average, NMSI noted in a news release.

The average first year increase in the number of passing AP math, science and English scores at AHS was 137 percent, 19 times the national average. For minority students at AHS, the average increase in the number of passing math, science and English scores was 233 percent, 16 times the national average. To achieve a passing score on an AP test, students must earn a score of three or higher on a five-point scale, making them eligible for college credit at most colleges and universities.

"The Obama Administration is committed to raising STEM achievement levels in America's classrooms," said Dr. Patricia Falcone, associate director for national security and international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "We're excited about NMSI's efforts to ensure consistent, rigorous educational opportunities for our nation's military families, and we congratulate Aberdeen High School on its impressive performance."

With the support from Boeing, the NMSI Comprehensive AP program was implemented at AHS, in addition to three high schools in Ohio, Virginia and Oklahoma, as part of NMSI's nationwide effort to support schools that serve students from military families. NMSI's AP program for military families was launched in 2010 in four schools in two states, and has expanded to 71 high schools in 18 states, with the goal of ultimately reaching a network of 200 schools that serve military families. Five additional schools are projected to join the program in the fall.

"Aberdeen High School's success is indicative of how programs like this raise the bar for academic excellence by supporting not just students, but also their families, school leaders and teachers," said Lianne Stein, vice president, Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship. "At Boeing we strive to ensure that students develop skills like critical thinking and creativity, and excel in math, science and English fields, so that they can achieve their dreams with the preparation necessary for ongoing academic and career success."