Education

Motivating kids to do their best

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There's not much Valley teachers won't do to motivate their students to achieve academic success. Some have shaved their heads, jumped in swimming pools and donned costumes as rewards. But one campus in particular is going all out this spring to get kids ready for STAR testing -- California's mandatory standardized testing and reporting, which starts in the second grade.

California's standard test is considered to be the biggest, most important exam of the entire year.

Thomas Elementary interim principal, Greg Broch-Jones said, "Really important. They've been working all year long and this is what we've been leading up to at the end of the year."

Test results are used for student and school accountability -- which is why the entire staff at Thomas Elementary is working around the clock to make sure kids are prepared for test day.

Thomas Elementary School counselor, Lisa Nichols said, "We wanted to do something fun and that would stick with the kids so we said let's come up with a case of the CST's and make it breaking news at Thomas Elementary."

The result?

A video, outlining specific strategies to help kids perform well and give them the tools they need to drive up their test scores.

"We do have a goal set," said Greg Broch-Jones. "This year our goal is for our students to have 55% reading, language arts and 70% in math. If we accomplish that we'll make about a 7-8% gain from last year."

Sixth grader, Kevin Campuzano played the role of a breaking news reporter live on the scene -- as students showed symptoms after ignoring the schools specific set of instructions.

Action News asked, "Is this really important to you guys?"

Kevin Campuzano replied, "Well yeah cuz some people don't get good sleep, so now they know how to get sleep and get a good breakfast."

Campuzano told Action News the video was a big hit with the students and helped drive the message home -- it's important to get a good night's sleep, eat well and show up on time.

If students arrive just a few minutes late -- the doors will be locked and the student sent home.

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