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Maryland Classroom: It Takes More Than High Test Scores to Make a Great School – It’s a Community Effort

By Lori Zimmerman, Parent and Second and Third Grade Teacher at Pine Grove Elementary, Baltimore County Public Schools

Lori Zimmerman, Parent and Second and Third Grade Teacher at Pine Grove Elementary, Baltimore County Public Schools

Lori Zimmerman, Parent and Second and Third Grade Teacher at Pine Grove Elementary, Baltimore County Public Schools

It took me a long time to write this blog post. After all, how do you describe a place that is a safe-haven for your children, your place of employment and where you have made life-long friends? I guess to an outsider, Pine Grove Elementary is a typical school with caring parents, teachers and wonderful students. But one look at the state test scores – they’re pretty impressive – and you realize this is no typical school.

Yet, what the test scores do not show are the people. They don’t show the immigrant Dad that greets you with a smile and kind nod with every encounter. They do not show him coming to drop off his son’s lunch money just before he is undergoing surgery later that day. The scores do not show the student with the reputation for being a cool fourth grade kid, but who feels confident enough to work with second graders on reading – even teaching them how to summarize a story and pick out its main idea. The scores do not show teachers who consult in the hallways about past students, just to find out “How’s my little guy doing?” They do not show the personal struggles that all members of the school community face from time-to-time that just seem to fade away when our Pine Grove family comes together to help our students.

I even begin to get emotional (pretty characteristic for me) as I think about Pine Grove Elementary and what it truly means to me. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful neighbors, colleagues and friends. Most importantly, I will be eternally grateful for what all of the people of Pine Grove have done for my daughter and son. Thank you, Pine Grove Elementary for providing a stepping stone in development fine human beings.


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