Mrs. President, sprinklers, and standardized tests
At school, things have been a flurry of activity of late. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, none other than Ms. Hilary Clinton came to have a press conference in our library. (oops, I mean media center) Unfortunately, I had prior kid commitments, so was unable to attend. Even if you're not a fan, what a thrill. I heard it was pretty canned- only the press was allowed to ask any questions, no surprises in what she said. It was earlier in the day, but still here in town, where she made some comment about the big, bad man or whatever it was she said.
We have steam heat at school and the boiler has been crazy- really cold rooms in parts of the building, sauna like conditions in others. Yesterday we got to school to find that one of the sprinkler heads in the auditorium had burst, causing all kinds of water damage to the 3rd and 4th floors.
The kids are all wacky because tomorrow is their version of the Sadie Hawkins dance. We've had 2 auds in the past 2 weeks- one to announce the candidates for King of the Dance, and today they announced the winner. The show choir performed- and I am such a dork, I was actually moved to tears. Let me explain myself- they did a number that was beautifully sung- these kids have such amazing talent- and it was all a tribute to our soldiers, a couple of the kids wore military uniforms and they had a folded American flag. I was trying to keep it together, but I just couldn't, sap that I am.
AND, ITEDs are next week and we have to get off the "watch" list, so there is much pressure on the kids to do well, and if they can't do well, they have to do better. So, we have been spending the last 15 minutes of 4th block doing test prep. A committee ran an item analysis of the questions missed on last years' test and made up some math and reading questions that are of a similar type. So, I had to go over the Pythagorean theorum with the kids, which I get, and parabola, which I do not and never did. I don't know if it will help, but it certainly can't hurt. I have a feeling that the kids who do well are going to do well anyway and the kids who don't care will continue not to care. We even have an incentive for them- they will get a maximum of 3 tickets on which they will write their names. The tickets will be put into a drawing for various prizes- tvs, movie tickets, ice cream gift certificates, etc. Should we be bribing them to take these tests? I have a hard time with this. It's hard to make any of the kids care about these tests, when they have no bearing on their grades, nor is their admission to college contingent upon their doing well. If their promotion to the next grade or graduation were contingent upon their achieving certain scores, I think they might work a bit harder. As it is, even the smart ones don't worry much about these tests. Now, the rest of us? We are freaking out. If we don't meet certain criteria- especially in sub-groups, we go back on "The List". Frankly, I think everyone's going to be on that list sooner or later.