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Ring Factory Elementary in Bel Air earns National Blue Ribbon School honor

Ring Factory Elementary School in Bel Air received another prestigious honor Friday when it was announced as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

According to Harford County Public Schools, Ring Factory Elementary is one of just 10 public and private schools in the state and 269 in the nation to receive this prestigious distinction for students achieving at very high levels or making significant improvements in levels of achievements.

Ring Factory Elementary is being recognized in the "Exemplary High Performing" category, in which schools are named among their state's highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests, according to a Harford school system news release.

Ring Factory has been included in the top 10 percent of all schools in the state on test scores in both reading and math for the past three years, according to the school system.

The national honor is the first for a Harford school in four years. Ring Factory Elementary will be honored at a ceremony on November 12-13 in Washington, D.C.

"It is the extraordinary efforts of the students, teachers, parents, administrators and community that allow Ring Factory Elementary School to receive national recognition for its high levels of achievement," Harford Schools Superintendent Robert M. Tomback said in the news release. "Ring Factory Elementary continues to meet and exceed the educational needs of all students and serves as an outstanding example of public education at its best."

Ring Factory was named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School during the 2011-12 school year.

"We are extremely proud of our students for this accomplishment and equally as proud of our staff for their dedication to the success of our school," Ring Factory Principal Earl Gaskins said. "Today will be a day to remember for our school and community."

In addition to their academic successes, Ring Factory Elementary has been designated a Maryland Physical Education Demonstration School for 2011-13 by the Maryland Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. The school also is a recipient of the Maryland Character Education School of the Year Award.

Harford school officials also said Ring Factory is proud of its award-winning teachers, including HCPS 2011 Teacher of the Year finalist Karen McNeely and HCPS 2000 Teacher of the Year winner Donna Zavacky. Ring Factory's Fox Choir and Steel Drum groups have received numerous awards and accolades. The school takes pride in its wide assortment of extracurricular activities that are aimed at helping students reach higher heights in learning.

In addition to the ceremony in Washington, where each school receives a plaque and flag signifying their "National Blue Ribbon" status, these schools will serve as models for other schools throughout the nation, according to the school system news release.

Ring Factory will join nine other Maryland schools nominated for the national honor including: Crofton Meadows Elementary School, Anne Arundel County; Father Andrew White S.J. School, Archdiocese of Washington; Notre Dame Preparatory School; Pocomoke Elementary School, Worcester County; Rachel Carson Elementary School, Montgomery County; St. Augustine School, Archdiocese of Baltimore; Saint Peter's School, Archdiocese of Washington; Whitehall Elementary School, Prince George's County; and Woodholme Elementary School, Baltimore County.

Ring Factory Elementary is the first National Blue Ribbon School for HCPS since Hickory Elementary earned the title in 2008. Other HCPS Blue Ribbon Schools have been Joppatowne High – Maryland – 2000; North Harford Middle – Maryland and National – 1996; Jarrettsville Elementary – Maryland – 1992; and Havre de Grace High – Maryland and National – 1990.

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