One of Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ first magnet programs and its last to be completed now share a prestigious national honor. 

Old Mill High School and Central Middle School have been named National Magnet Schools of Distinction by Magnet Schools of America.

Old Mill, which offers the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma programs to students in grades 9 through 12, accepted its first magnet students in the 2003-04 school year. It is one of three county high schools to offer the IB program, and has been recognized as an IB World School since 2005. IB program courses offer students the chance to explore connections between personal experiences and the world around them. Opportunities for students to develop skills in asking questions, thinking critically, challenging assumptions, and researching are embedded daily.

“Our team strives to prepare IB students who are multilingual and college and career ready so that they can become change agents in their communities and the world,” Old Mill High School Principal Stacey Smith said. “We work tirelessly to help students continually build a network of support as they step outside of their comfort zone and engage directly with the world outside of the classroom, and this honor is a testament to the efforts of so many inside and outside of our school.”

Central is one of three county middle school STEM magnet programs, and enrolled its first magnet class in 2015. The STEM magnet program promotes learning outside the classroom walls with multiple field experiences that allow students to interact with the Bay and learn about their own impact on the campus ecosystem. STEM teachers support hands-on learning opportunities that vary from pathways in computer science, the environment, or mathematics and strive to make learning relevant for all students.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a STEM school of distinction,” said Mildred Beall, who retired as Central Middle School’s principal last week. “Our students, parents, and teachers work very hard and with great passion. It is wonderful to have them acknowledged at this level, and we are very proud of this achievement. “

Awards are based on a school’s demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme. Honorees must also explain and document how their programs promote equitable access to all demographic groups, including but not limited to English Language Learners and students who receive special education services.

Last year, just 169 schools across the nation and just one in Maryland were designated as magnet schools of distinction.

“In every school in our school system, we must continue to create opportunities for students to have a positive impact not just on their own lives, but on the lives of others,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Old Mill and Central are shining examples of doing just that. These awards are reflective of the incredible students, staff, parents, and communities at both schools that work so hard to achieve great things.”