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Aberdeen High School Named 'School of the Year'

The Eagles excelled in Advanced Placement tests, according to the National Math and Science Initiative.

Aberdeen High School Principal Michael O'Brien said he was proud of the "Route 40" school. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
Aberdeen High School Principal Michael O'Brien said he was proud of the "Route 40" school. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
Dancers, musicians, elected officials, students, teachers and others erupted into applause as Aberdeen High School received national recognition Friday for its performance on Advanced Placement (AP) tests.

The school's students earned passing marks on 255 exams in science, math and English during the 2012–2013 school year, a 137 percent increase from the previous year.

Participation in AP programs and passing grades on AP tests indicate a student is three times more likely to graduate from college, said Gregg Fleisher, chief academic officer for the National Math and Science Initiative, at the Jan. 17 ceremony, where his organization designated Aberdeen its "School of the Year."

Schools that participate in the initiative—which is a public-private partnership—receive extra training for teachers and additional support for students, who, for example, attend Saturday study sessions to practice for AP exams. Aberdeen joined the program a year ago, as part of the initiative's effort to include military families.

"This program's been around for over 20 years," Fleisher said. "And in the history of this program, there has never been a one-year increase for a school like the Aberdeen Eagles did last year."

According to Fleisher, "nationally, we have a 72 percent increase in the number of passing exams in just one year," compared with Aberdeen's 137 percent increase.

"Aberdeen High School not only met the expectation of increased participation [in AP programs] and qualifying scores, but exceeded all other schools in this effort," Harford County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan said.

There were 465 schools participating in the National Math and Science Initiative last year, according to a statement from the initiative.

"The outstanding success is a tribute to our students, instructional and administrative staff, parents and the community," Canavan said. She also thanked Boeing, which provided local funding for the program.

Officials representing the White House, Aberdeen Proving Ground, the city of Aberdeen, Boeing, National Math and Science Initiative, Department of Defense, U.S. Army, Harford County Public Schools and others attended.

The event began with music from the Aberdeen High School band and a dance performance by the award-winning Aberdeen Dance Company. The school also received a check for $104,200 from the National Math and Science Initiative. 

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