Quantico school wins national award

Quantico Middle/High School students stood straight and proud outside their school Friday and watched the wind tug at their newly raised National School of Excellence flag.

The flag is a testament to the school’s high academic achievements that recently won it the United States Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Award. The awards program, which began in 1982, honors public, private and U.S. Department of Defense schools that demonstrate excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement and parental involvement.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award, knowing that all the hard work the students have done has paid off,” said Nicole Taylor, 17, president of the Student Council Association.

She has a lot of homework, she says, but there is still time to get extra help after school from Quantico’s willing teachers.

This is just one example of the student-teacher relationship that exists at the school, she said.

Teamwork is how the school received its recognition, said principal Charlie Winters.

The Department of Defense school, with approximately 400 students, has a population conducive to school involvement with community members, parents, teachers and students on the Quantico Marine Corps base, said Nancy Brown, who has taught at the school for 31 years.

Parents often live within three to five miles of the school and maintain a close contact with teachers, Brown said.

“When we walk down the hall, we often know the parent, or the parent knows us,” Brown said.

Parents are not the only ones who regularly visit the school. Alumni are always stopping by throughout the week, Winters said.

When Spanish teacher Marsha Stewart arrived at the school 10 years ago, she saw potential and decided the school staff should apply for the National Ribbon of Excellence.

Two years ago, Stewart and English teacher Nancy Brown began working with eight others to prepare data for the Ribbon of Excellence application.

The committee evaluated and researched every aspect of school life. Teacher qualifications, programs, curriculum, courses offered, test scores, technology and student involvement are all components being nationally recognized.

Quantico is among 171 schools that received the national recognition. The schools’ curriculum and achievements can serve as a role model nationwide.

Winters, Brown and Stewart were presented with the flag at the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., last month. The flag was raised for the first time at school Friday.

The school has standardized testing and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“The accreditation from Virginia is a requirement. Blue Ribbon was not required. It was a choice,” Brown said.

Staff writer Jennifer Brennan can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 123.

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