Six elementary schools were named Maryland blue ribbon schools, a designation given only to those highest performing schools or those that have made significant improvement.
Shipley's Choice Elementary in Anne Arundel County and Manor Woods Elementary Schools in Howard County were two of the schools identified.
All of the schools were given the Maryland blue ribbon earlier this year.
The four other schools are Sunderland Elementary in Calvert County, Centerville Elementary School in Frederick County, and Ronald McNair Elementary School and Farmland Elementary School in Montgomery County.
The six schools are recognized on the basis of a rigorous standard, and will be nominated for the national designation.
"A huge heartfelt thanks from me and my colleagues for what you do," said Andy Smarick, president of the state school board.
The announcement was made at the state school board meeting, while the principals and staff from the schools looked on. Some of the staff said they weren't told why they were going to the meeting until moments before the surprise announcement.
Shipley's Choice was at 90 percent proficiency in English and almost 90 percent in math. They were the top performing elementary school in the state this year on the PARCC assessments. Manor Woods Elementary School has PARCC pass rates of 75 percent in math and more than 70 percent in English. The school excels in the arts with 300 students participating in band and strings.