Crowded middle school bids 677 students farewell They leave Sykesville for Oklahoma Road

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sykesville Middle School will never be the same.

Yesterday,the crowded school ended the day with about 1,175 students. Today, those students are out of school while their teachers branch off. Many of the teachers will be at Oklahoma Road Middle School when it opens Tuesday,and 677 of the students will go there, too.

The rest, 510, will return to Sykesville Middle on Tuesday but to a much smaller school. One big difference is they won't have to use the 14 portable classrooms behind the school. The lunch crowd will shrink, and a whole lunch period will be eliminated.

After years of crowding, Sykesville will be one of the smallest middle schools in the county.

"I don't know how that's going to feel," said Principal Donald Pyles, who is used to having a school that bursts at the seams, and four lunch periods that extend from just after breakfast to shortly before dismissal.

"Anything under 1,000 [students] would be a cakewalk," Pyles said.

At both Sykesville and Oklahoma Road, teachers will be setting up their rooms, preparing grade books, and regrouping into new teams. "That stuff we do in the beginning of the year, has to all be done again," Pyles said. "It's like a whole new school year."

Students throughout the county are off school tomorrow, while teachers have a professional day. Monday is a holiday -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday -- and all students and teachers will be out of school.

If school is canceled in the rest of the county for snow today, however, Tuesday will be a day off for Sykesville and Oklahoma Road students, while teachers use that day to set up classrooms.

Larry Barnes, Oklahoma Road principal, said he and his staff are gearing up for students, and he'll welcome a regular routine as a principal. He has spent the past year dealing with construction schedules and building issues. He formerly was principal at Mount Airy Middle School.

"We're just excited," Barnes said. "It's like getting off your knees and getting on your feet."

For Sykesville and Oklahoma Road students to get the day off school today, Superintendent Brian Lockard applied for and received a waiver of one of the 180 required school days. The waiver was granted by Nancy S. Grasmick, state schools superintendent.

Pub Date: 1/16/97

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