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Among the best

Sometimes it's a bit too easy to lose sight of the big picture when focusing on one of a large organization's faults.

Such is the case with Harford County Public Schools, and public schools in general.

Locally, there are certainly valid questions to be raised about increases in non-teaching staff levels even as enrollment in Harford County has been inching downward. And that's not the only problem with the local school system.

But there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to point out ways the school system can be improved. This week is a good one to reflect on what's good about the school system in the aftermath of one of its schools celebrating being one of six Maryland Blue Ribbon schools.

What does it mean to be a Blue Ribbon School? No doubt it involved filling out a lot of paperwork and meeting or exceeding a lot of standards with boring names. Still, this is how things are judged.

Last week, Ring Factory's principal, Earl Gaskins, asked the key question: "What makes Ring Factory so great?"

The answer is simple, or maybe not so simple: great teachers and staff, combined with great kids and parents. When it comes down to it, the Baltimore City Public Schools motto of late captures the essence of academic success: "Great kids, great schools." Easy to type out, hard to accomplish.

The reality is it takes teamwork and dedication, and these are two qualities that are abundant in Harford County Public Schools. Are there problems? Could things be better? Is there room for improvement? The answer to all these questions is yes.

It's important, however, to keep in mind, as Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard J. Sadusky pointed out last Friday during the Blue Ribbon celebration at Ring Factory, that Maryland's public schools consistently rank among the best in the country, and Harford County's are among the best in Maryland.

That's definitely something to celebrate.

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