Posts tagged Testing
Posts tagged Testing
This is the speech that I gave today at a school-wide assembly honoroing our third grade students who scored 100% on the latest IREAD3 test. This is an example ofeveryoneworking together and believing in students and their achievement possibilities.
WE. Flip ME over and you get WE. WE are here today to celebrate quite an accomplishment. This accomplishment is not the efforts of one individual, but the concerted efforts of many. WE are here to celebrate our third graders. I just received the IREAD-3 Test results and 100% of our third graders passed! Congratulations! Let’s hear it for the third graders! This is the second year in a row for this accomplishment! Our theme this year as a staff is “Let’s Play Ball”. I think these third graders, not only played ball, but they hit a homerun!
WE. WE did this together. Third graders – great job! You showed amazing EFFORT and look – it paid off. Third grade teachers – great accomplishment – what a ton of pressure and stress to give these tests. But you prepared the students for this year’s test. Grades K, 1, and 2 teachers: You have prepared as well. Grade 4 and 5 teachers: You share in this success too. When it was time to give the test – It was All Hands On Deck. You gave up your computers from your classroom so that we could gain the maximum amount of peak student engagement time. Everyone adjusted schedules. Everyone moved around parent-teacher conferences. Everyone knew that this test was a public indicator of our worth and our efforts and WE were all in it. WE. Every single person on this staff from the classroom teachers, to the custodians, to the instructional assistants, to the school psychologist and specialist, to the SLP and resource teacher, to the school Tech, to the cooks, to the secretaries, to the nurse, to the instructional coaches, to the bus drivers, to the specials teachers, to the parents and to the community – you all have a hand in this success and I applaud you. Parents, you adjusted your child’s doctor and dental schedules to make sure students were here for the test. I also applaud the efforts of our central office who have worked to provide opportunities for us to disseminate through the mountains of mandates and the miles of procedures and protocols. And finally, a huge shout-out to the Technology Department for prepping the computers and troubleshooting the many errors that came our way. WE. Once again, third graders – I am so proud of you! You all did it! WE speak a lot about EFFORT and we will be learning soon about a new word: GRIT. You gave tremendous EFFORT and you showed outstanding GRIT. You did a great job!
I read recently that in schools today, there is a great emphasis on profits. Profits are those tangible pieces that can be measured. Test scores are a reality and they are a measurable profit. I would argue that a school’s merit is also solidly rooted in other profits that are harder to measure like Life Skills, Community Service, and Engagement. But today, for our purposes on this IREAD Test for our students, passing or not passing is a tangible measure. Summer school, re-taking the test and possible forced retention are the outcomes for failure. But there is a larger measure of failure than these outcomes. There is the horrific thought that a child might pass through school unable to read. These children before you at least have a solid foundation under them. According to research, they have the road a little smoother toward graduation and a future career, with just this basic reading ability. That is something to cheer about.
This is a WE Effort. Every time you stop and give a second grader with their clipboard a chance to read their fluency poem, you are being part of the solution. When upper elementary students partner with lower elementary students and model good reading, you are being part of the solution. Every book you check out of the library or offer a recommendation to another student, you are being part of the solution. When you stop a student with a Book of Excellence or a Leaf for the Growth Tree and celebrate with him/her, you are part of the solution. PTO – when you reach deeply within your shallow coffers and provide computers for our classrooms, Book Fairs, pay for professional development, and provide author visits, you are part of the solution. Parents, when you work with your child’s teacher on areas of deficit and encourage reading at home; you are part of the solution. Grandmas and Grandpas, Moms and Dads – each time you sit down and read to your child you are building their vocabulary and background knowledge and instilling a love of reading, and you are being part of the solution. Teachers, when you meet with instructional coaches and learn new techniques on your own to make yourselves better, you are part of the solution. Teachers again, when you use the data from multiple sources to track student progress and adjust your instruction; you are part of the solution. When the Postmaster in town asks students about school and encourages their community service, she is being part of the solution. When parents and community members volunteer to help in school, you are part of the solution. When legislators use common sense in their legislation of school and student accountability, you are being part of the solution. When bus drivers get students to school on time and out of harm’s way, you are part of the solution. When the Central Office instructional, technology, and maintenance departments work to fix issues and concerns, you are part of the solution. When the workers at the Stockwell Market ask students about school, you are part of the solution. When the church pastors help with donations and also hold a high level of expectation for the community, you are part of the solution. When a maintenance man fixes a furnace that isn’t producing hot air, you are part of the solution. When the cooks provide a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch, you are part of the solution. When recess and lunch supervisors mitigate discipline issues and keep smiling faces in classrooms where they can learn, not in the hallway or in the principal’s office, you are part of the solution. . When teachers work hand-in-hand with the special education teacher to offer students exposure to many facets of instruction and shuffle schedules to meet individual needs, you are part of the solution. When everyone from our law enforcement to our ambulance and fire departments, to our parents work to make sure our students are safe at home and safe at school, learning happens and you are part of the solution. When community members donate to and provide space to pack backpacks for some of our students to help out at home, you are part of the solution. When organizations like Keep Stockwell Beautiful, Community Helping Hands, and Lauramie Summer Rec ask about student progress and put education first as a priority, you are being a great partner to our school and you are being part of the solution. When the Scout leaders – both girl and boy –encourage students to read and to earn badges, to do their best, and to exercise self-discipline, you are being part of the solution. When you offer a hug and a “How are you doing?” statement, not as an isolated incident, but as the norm, you are part of the solution. And when you listen to people like me, your proud principal and believe - believe that students can learn through their hard work and through the concerted efforts and determination of many, you are being part of the solution.
Third graders, you have crossed a milestone. I am so proud. Kindergarten, first, and second grade students, you all have it within you to pass this test in the future. Work at it. Parents, support the school and support your teachers and your children. Visit the Bookmobile that comes around every two weeks. Check out books and track your child’s progress. Attend school functions to learn how to help your child be his/her best. You can do it. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students – you still have several milestones ahead of you to cross in terms of reading. It is my expectation that you all leave fifth grade reading at a sixth grade level. It is also my expectation that you will walk across the floor at your high school graduation and receive a diploma. That is the minimum expectation that I have for you.
Do you know what your prize is for being able to read? A whole lifetime ahead of wondrous places and fantastic people and stories told and yet untold. I love to read and this spring break I didn’t leave the house much physically. But I read a children’s story about a little girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, traveled back in time to the 1950s to be part of a story about a little girl who was an amazing marble player, read about a giant tree in Reader’s Digest, and followed the happenings of the news each morning with the newspaper. I finished an audio-book about Railroads, Semis, and Tug Boats, and began another about one of baseball’s greatest hitters and ambassadors – Henry Aaron. I read websites, emails, Facebook posts, blogs, and Twitter feeds. I read from books, from magazines, from my Nook, my iPad, and from my computer screen. I read cereal boxes and recipes. I even read part of a book about how to teach reading better. Teachers (and principals) must always keep learning. I read and I read a lot. And you will too. You are all readers, third graders. Fourth and fifth graders – keep working hard to get better at all kinds of reading. Kindergarten students - keep asking me to listen to you read. I love it! First graders - finish those Phonic Chapter books and get going on AR Books! Hey, you get to ride on the tandem bike when you do! Second graders – you are readers too. Keep working on those poems and your fluency. I want you confident as readers. I love you all and want you to have the best in life. If you can read – you can write your ticket.
This is a very exciting day for me and one that fills me with great pride. It is also a day that I hope each and every one of you here today feels the same sense of pride because this is quite an accomplishment. WE did it together and WE will continue to work together in the future.
Now, it is my honor to lead the staff and our visitors as we shake the hands, hug, or high five our third graders. You have made us all very proud. When we are finished, please return to your seats. I am not quite finished.
I have occasion each year to visit the Christmas parade. I love to see the Snow Prince and Princess. I love to see you all in your scout uniforms, cheer outfits, and gymnastic attire. I love to see the floats and I love to see the smiles and the waves. Most years, the fire trucks carry a winning state champion sports team down the center of Main Street. Their sirens blare and letter jackets show proudly on the chests of the athletes. How exciting is that! But I also feel it is a bit misplaced. Where are the fire trucks for the National Merit Scholars? Where are the fire trucks for the students who got a perfect score on their SAT or were Valedictorians in their class? Where are the fire trucks for the schools who teach students to read English even though their first language is another? Where are the fire trucks for the students or the schools that were named 4-Star? Where are the fire trucks for the school that got 100% on their IREAD3? Well, Cole Cub third graders, you are my state champions! The fire trucks are right outside for you all. This community is proud of you and they want to show you that they appreciate your hard work. They appreciate your effort. They appreciate the teachers and staff. And they are so thrilled with this accomplishment. Because it is a big deal and one that I hope inspires each and every one of you. Each teacher. Each Student. Each Parent. And each community member. Go out and set your future. Read. Work hard in school. And set your destination. Let’s all stand for the Cole Cheer Song led by our third graders. Each day I am proud to be the principal of James Cole Elementary School. But today, my chest is stuck out a bit more and I have energy pacing through my veins because WE did it! Great job everyone! Repeat after me, ‘WE are the Cole Cubs!”
It was a great day earlier this week for everyone at Cole Elementary School. We received word from the Indiana Department of Education that all 31 of our students had passed the IREAD3 Assessment! This was such a great piece of news for everyone involved. The IREAD3 is a new assessment given to all third graders across the State of Indiana in March to assess basic reading skills. There are no exemptions from IREAD3. All students, including special education and English as a Second Language learners, must take the test. The results of the test require action by the school. Students who do not pass the IREAD3 are required to be retained (up to two times) unless a special education case conference decision says otherwise, or if the student’s English proficiency is in the lowest two tiers.
This test brought anxiety to our third graders. It also brough anxiety to our third grade teachers and staff. Obviously, we want all students to be proficient, strong readers and understand the importance of strong reading. We have adjusted daily schedules to focus on reading. We have held parent meetings. We have done many other assessments of our students. We are charting benchmark and growth levels of our students. Our focus, like the focus of all schools across the board, has been strong toward reading. Still, the students and staff knew the ramifications for students not passing. The day of testing was long, tiring, and stress-filled. Students cried. Teachers encouraged. The whole school worked hard on noise level and was supportive during this testing day. It was a team effort.
So, when the news came out that all of the students had passed this test, there was definitely a call for celebration. We held an impromptu school-wide assembly and called all staff members and all third graders forward. Then I shared the great news. Applause roared through the gymnasium. Teachers cried. Students cried. Students applauded. An affirmation of a job well-done and for lots of effort and sweat equity. It was a great day for everyone. If you look at the picture, there are two lines. One with third graders and one with Cole Staff. Hugs, high fives, and handshakes are being exchanged. I am out front giving hugs and “Good Job, I am proud of you” to each student.
This was a great day for everyone. I am very proud of the accomplishment. When I think about the students who took the test, they gave EFFORT. I don’t think I would be any less proud of the students had they not passed the test because they left it all on the field. They tried hard. Our teachers worked hard. The test is a snapshot. It’s a glimpse. It is not the complete picture. That’s my hesitation with judging schools solely on test scores. But sometimes a group of students, a staff, and a community need a buoy of confidence. Our IREAD3 scores gave just that. I am proud of the parents for helping to emphasize reading. I am proud of my staff for working so hard, encouraging, and fighting the good fight. I am proud of my students above all for showing EFFORT. Because in life, when it’s all said and done, you can have the best support from home, the best training, but if you don’t give the EFFORT, you won’t succeed. Cole Cubs, well done! It was a great day for everyone when we found out all of our students had passed IREAD3. I am proud of you all!