Six public schools and three Catholic schools in Maryland were named Tuesday as National Blue Ribbon Schools, a designation given to the most successful schools in the country.
The public schools honored this year included Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, a magnet school in Baltimore County, and Linthicum Elementary School in Anne Arundel County.
Three Baltimore-area Catholic schools also were given the award: The School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, Immaculate Conception School in Towson and Our Lady of Grace School in Parkton.
This year, 337 schools in the nation earned the designation, which is given on the basis of rigorous requirements for high achievement and significant improvement.
At Western, an announcement was made to students and staff shortly after the news came out.
"I am kind of a little numb right now," said Buddy Parker, who has been principal at Western for the past four years. "We have a really strong team that believes in our kids."
Western has increased the number of Advanced Placement tests taken and the pass rates on those tests in the past several years. Parker said he believes passion and caring by his teachers are as important as the instruction students receive.
Other Maryland schools to receive the Blue Ribbon honor are: Frost Elementary in Allegany County, Northern Garrett High in Garrett County, Cashell Elementary in Montgomery County and Robert Goddard French Immersion Elementary/Middle in Prince George's County.
The schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington in early November.