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Local delegates visit Carroll schools to celebrate PARCC success

As seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra students at Oklahoma Road Middle School played "Carol of the Bells," local legislators took to the front of the Eldersburg school's gymnasium.

State Sen. Justin Ready and Dels. April Rose and Susan Krebs, all Republicans representing District 5, made a special trip to the middle school Monday morning to acknowledge strong Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers scores. The trio presented Principal Erin Brilhart with a citation for the school's outstanding PARCC assessment scores.

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Oklahoma Road was the top Carroll County middle school when it came to PARCC scores this year, Ready said.

"I know that tests are hard," Ready told the middle schoolers. But thanks to the hard work from students, teachers and families at the school, Oklahoma Road was able to achieve great things, he said.

The school was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2011, Krebs said. The Blue Ribbon program identifies public and private elementary, middle and high schools with high-achieving students in reading and mathematics, and those that have made improvements in closing the achievement gap.

And five years later, she said, the school is still excelling at all they do.

But the students don't just have strong academic skills, Krebs said. They have strong character, camaraderie and teamwork, she added.

For eight-grader Chimwemwe Chinkuyu, getting to have a state senator and the local delegates visit was "really exciting," he said. It was especially neat, he said, because he got to play his viola in the orchestra for the school, and the delegation, in preparation for their concert that evening.

The fact that Ready, Krebs and Rose took time out to come to the school shows they're connected to the community, Chimwemwe said.

"They really care about us," he added.

Oklahoma Road Middle School seventh grader Lindsay Small, a cellist in the seventh and eighth grade orchestra, applauds as representatives from the Maryland General Assembly are introduced during an assembly recognizing the school's outstanding PARCC assessment scores in Eldersburg Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.
Oklahoma Road Middle School seventh grader Lindsay Small, a cellist in the seventh and eighth grade orchestra, applauds as representatives from the Maryland General Assembly are introduced during an assembly recognizing the school's outstanding PARCC assessment scores in Eldersburg Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Annika Rodoff, another eighth-grader in the orchestra, echoed her classmate's thoughts.

"When they told us [the local delegation was coming], we were all really excited," she added.

Ready, Rose and Krebs are set to visit two more schools this week to celebrate their achievements on the PARCC test. They will stop by Hampstead Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. today and at Century High School at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, which had the highest elementary and high school scores, respectively.

"It's very exciting that we were recognized for the hard work," said Beth Prestianni, a counselor at Oklahoma Road. "They deserve it."

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