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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2004

Fulton County: Rally aims to raise test scores

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A pep assembly at York Elementary School tomorrow will cheer on students, not athletes, and the focus will be on test scores, not game scores.

Kevin Herman, principal of the school in the Pike-Delta-York district, plans to wow the crowd with a motivational message as the students head into the home stretch - state proficiency testing begins next week.

A key, he said, to keeping the youngsters prepped for the proficiency tests: “Hey, get excited!”

In addition to building excitement, there will be plenty of emphasis on positive attitudes. Students with positive attitudes perform better, Mr. Herman said.

In the weeks leading up to the proficiency tests, extra attention has been directed not only at attitude, but at aptitude.

Across Fulton County, schools have conducted special sessions to help students prepare for the tests, and administrators, parents, and teachers have teamed up with students to encourage them to do their best on the tests.

Some area schools received grants to pay teachers to conduct intervention sessions, and special programs were scheduled at schools to reinforce material that students will face on the proficiency tests.

At York Elementary, a hands-on science day, complete with a 19-foot high Earth dome, was held last week. “It was a fun day for the kids, but they reviewed a lot of concepts needed for the proficiency tests,” Mr. Herman said. The school has about 210 students in fourth and fifth grades.

To encourage students to read, free books were given to students. The Pike-Delta-York district received a national grant to pay most of the cost for the books; local organizations pitched in to help cover the remainder.

At Wauseon s Elm Street Elementary School, before and after-school tutoring sessions were offered twice a week during February. Sessions ended last week, and students received balloons and candy bars as a reward for their involvement in the extra classes, said Principal David Burkholder.

“The kids really like it. We make it fun for them. We focused on reading and written language skills,” he said.

Today, he will visit the classrooms where he will share with students his expectations and he will remind students that they are prepared and they are capable.

When testing gets under way next week, students will play games in the gymnasium at the start of the school day, and before they head to their classrooms to take the tests, there will be cheering, Mr. Burkholder said.

Test scores have increased in the last three years, but Mr. Burkholder is a little concerned this year because “we have missed a lot of school.” Classes were called off seven days this school year because of bad weather, and there have been several days when classes were delayed.

PDY Superintendent Russ Griggs said extra efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, and students pay off. “We give students support and letting them know we think they can do well. We set them up for success instead of failure.”



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