Marci Young, project director of Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland was named one of the seven recipients of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
“The prestigious Baldrige Award underscores Montgomery County Public Schools' focus on continuously improving its school district, starting with a foundation of high-quality pre-k, to achieve the best results for all of its students. A key component of MCPS's performance excellence is its innovative use of early learning to successfully narrow the achievement gap among children from different backgrounds and prepare more students for college and careers.
“MCPS's efforts prove that by building systemic reform on a foundation of high-quality pre-k, districts can reach ambitious objectives for student achievement. States and communities can learn a lot from this successful example of integrating pre-k into their overall reform strategies.
“Montgomery County Public Schools is a national model for a comprehensive school-turnaround strategy that sets kids from all backgrounds on a path to success in school and in life.”
Background: Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. The annual award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations and publicizes successful performance strategies. It is administered by the Baldrige National Quality Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Since 1988, 80 organizations have received Baldrige Awards. Last year's winners include Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, MidwayUSA, AtlantiCare, Heartland Health, and VA Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center.
In 2010, Pre-K Now released a report with the Foundation for Child Development titled Lessons in Early Learning: Building an Integrated Pre-K-12 System in Montgomery County Public Schools. The study describes how MCPS used local and federal dollars to craft, implement and improve a system-wide education reform strategy built on a foundation of providing high-quality pre-k.