CHARLOTTE -- Park Road Montessori will soon have the trademark blue flag of excellence flying high outside its doors. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school was recently named a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
"We aren't in it for the awards but it's good to know that public Montessori has been validated in such a way not just at the state level but at the national level," said principal Anna Moraglia.
Moraglia said the learning environment at a Montessori school is much different that that of a traditional school.
"You may walk into a classroom and see 24 different children doing 24 different things," said Moraglia. "It really becomes more of a community than a classroom."
Anna Hurdle, a 20-year teacher, said she agreed.
"It's almost like an old fashioned one-room school house. The older children help teach the younger children. They are the example for the younger children to follow," said Hurdle.
School leaders said they believe the teaching method combined with high test scores is what helped snag the honor. The award is given by the U.S. government and is the highest honor an American school can achieve.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement.
For the past 30 years, this prestigious program has honored nearly 7,000 of the nation's most successful schools.
"We aren't just building a school, we aren't just preparing for a test, we are building the character of these children," said Moraglia.
Eight North Carolina schools were named Blue Ribbon Schools this year.
The eight North Carolina public schools receiving the recognition are:
- Park Road Montessori (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)
- The Academy at Smith (Guilford County Schools)
- Jamesville Middle (Martin County Schools)
- Middle College at Bennett (Guilford County Schools)
- Pauline Jones Elementary (Cumberland County Schools)
- PSRC Early College at Robeson Community College (Robeson County Schools)
- Saluda Elementary (Polk County Schools)
- Whitaker Elementary (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools)