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Middle school matters: Cockeysville Middle School


In honor of national Middle Level Education Month, this March we are taking a closer look at Baltimore County Public Schools’ wonderful middle schools. Every day during March, one or two more school profiles will be posted. To see all that have been posted, please click here.

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Principal: Deborah Magness (quoted below)
Feeder elementary schools: Carroll Manor, Jacksonville, Mays Chapel, Padonia, Pot Spring, and Warren

School website:

Academic achievements

For the past three years, Cockeysville has had the highest attendance of any middle school in Baltimore County. Last year’s attendance rate was 96.2%, which is in line with the school’s norm of 95–96%.  

45% of students are in one or more advanced academic classes.

87% of staff hold master’s degrees.

Recent award

Last year, Cockeysville was honored with Maryland’s Best Buddies Chapter of the Year Award.  from the state of Maryland. The Best Buddies program brings disabled and non-disabled peers together to partner on academic and social activities. Approximately 11% of Cockeysville Middle students have identified special needs.

Special academic programs offered

“Historically, we have always had a strong music program. Many parents want their children to attend the school because of that. In fact, we currently have a music teacher who was a student here. Our jazz band was chosen and performed at a BCPS State of the Schools event.”

In addition to the standard academic and advanced academic courses offered in most BCPS middle schools, Cockeysville has the only middle school Asperger’s program in Baltimore County.  Asperger’s is at the higher end of the autism spectrum and its students generally need more support with social and emotional development than with their academic achievement. Students are identified through a team process for this program, and they attend from around the county. The school provides the necessary supports in-house to meet their needs.

Popular/unique extracurricular activities

“After school hours here, it looks more like a high school with more than 25 extracurricular activities offered.”

“The school’s swing dance program meets on Wednesday mornings before school and is led by one of our physical education teachers. Approximately 75 students participate. Sometimes the students and their parents go to swing dances in the community. This is a great way for them to interact and give back to the community but also learn from the older more experienced swing dancers. The group has performed at other schools in hopes of spreading interest in swing dancing among their peers. The groups has performed for the Office of Physical Education as well.”

“We have one of the top middle school chess clubs in the county. The teacher who coordinates it also runs a summer camp through Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. He is able to recruit elementary students interested in chess through the camp.”

School traditions

Each day the week before winter break is designated by the staff for some special type of celebration, such as Tinsel Day, Ugly Sweater Day, Plaid Day, Red & Green Day, or Elf Day. “Elf Day is always the last day before break and 85-90% of the staff dress up as elves. The students LOVE it!”

On the more serious side, “the students here have a tremendous amount of empathy and sympathy for each other, a real genuine caring and concern. When any sort of tragedy, challenge, or hardship happens, they want to do something to help.”

“While we have many examples over the years, this year many students and staff at the school are wearing purple “Nolan strong” bracelets. Students initiated the creation of these bracelets as a way to help support a student who underwent surgery and is out of school for an extended period.”

In February 2008, the school lost a family from the community, and the students rallied together and created a memorial garden through the collection of donations. An angel statue sits in the same memorial garden in honor of another student who passed away.

Bet you didn’t know…

That this building was originally used for a junior/senior high school and was built on land purchased for $5 from the farm owner.

That astronaut Reid Wiseman is a Cockeysville Middle School alum, and he carried a Cockeysville Middle School T-shirt with him when he went aboard the International Space Center. The framed T-shirt is now one of the school’s prized treasures.


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Verletta White
Interim Superintendent

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