Seven Maryland schools, including one in Baltimore County and two in Harford County, were named Blue Ribbon schools Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.
The recognition is given to the highest performing schools in the nation or those with extraordinary success in closing the achievement gap among student groups.
Now in its 37th year, the award has been given to more than 8,000 schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
To be considered, a school must first be chosen as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School.
The area Blue Ribbon schools are West Towson Elementary in Baltimore County, Waterloo Elementary in Howard County, and Fallston Middle School and Harford Day School — an independent school — in Harford County.
The minute she got the news on Monday, West Towson Princpal Susan Hershfeld headed out to hand-deliver a note to each teacher that said, “Congratulations, you work at a National Blue Ribbon School.”
Attached was a Hershey’s chocolate bar wrapped with the seal of the U.S. Department of Education.
She told each teacher, “You helped make this happen,” she said.
“There were tears. There were screams….It was priceless,” Hershfeld said.
Her school had a 79 percent pass rate on statewide standardized tests in math and English, nearly double the statewide average.