Howard County’s Waterloo Elementary School was one of six Maryland public schools named Maryland Blue Ribbon schools Dec. 5.
The Blue Ribbon Schools state and nationwide program honors schools for high performance and students’ improvement in reading and mathematics as measured by state assessments. Schools scored in the top 15 percent on the 2017 state PARCC assessments.
Additional recipients include West Towson Elementary in Baltimore County, Fallston Middle in Harford County, Urbana Elementary in Frederick County, and Bannockburn and Luxmanor elementaries in Montgomery County.
Schools honored will receive a Maryland Blue Ribbon Flag, monetary prize, interactive technology equipment, $1,000 worth of office supplies and a celebratory party. The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate will also honor schools at its awards dinner March 12 in Annapolis.
Waterloo Elementary is the county’s 11th school to earn this award, joining Centennial Lane, Clarksville and Manor Woods elementary schools; Burleigh Manor, Clarksville, Ellicott Mills, Folly Quarter, Hammond and Lime Kiln middle schools; and River Hill High School.
Howard County schools participated in “Hour of Code” this week to promote computer science skills in schools. On Dec. 6, Interim Superintendent Michael Martirano visited Guilford Elementary School to see students coding and talk with them about the importance of these skills.
According to the Howard County Public School System, 62 percent of students at Waterloo Elementary met or exceeded expectations in math and English language arts on this year’s PARCC assessments. Teams received top three honors in the Rube Goldberg and Safe Racer Engineering challenges, with more than 12 students chosen for band and string honors as well as Gifted and Talented groups.
Principal Sean Martin said staff, students and the community take “great pride” in receiving the award. Martin has been principal at Waterloo Elementary for three years. He was earlier principal at Bryant Woods Elementary for six years and Phelps Luck Elementary for four years.
“It’s a great reflection of the partnership that our school has with our PTA and families,” Martin said. “It highlights the efforts of our kids and their ability to persevere through challenges, whether it’s academically or personally. I feel, and our staff feels, incredibly fortunate to work in Howard County for its emphasis placed on education and the ongoing proactive support and relationship with have with Dr. Martirano and the Board of Education. It really allows us to do the job that we need to do at the individual schools.”
Waterloo Elementary is also a certified green school whose students planted 122 trees on the grounds, and have undertaken landscaping and maintain a rain garden.
“Being a successful classroom teacher is a challenging job,” Martin said. “They do things because they know it’s right and it’s best for the students who they serve. They’re not looking for attention or recognition, but this is such a wonderful validation for them. You can tell by the interactions and the smiles on their faces that it means a lot.”