February 21, 2011

February Update Dear GM Families: This year is moving forward quickly! Spring testing will be here soon. Please be aware that our testing dates are different than listed in your PTA calendar. Our CRCT will be given on April 12-18 to all 3rd-5th graders. This is a 5 day assessment based on our Georgia Performance Standards for each grade level. Tests are given in Reading, English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. You can help your child prepare by accessing our OAS (Online Assessment System) from our GM Website- Links for Students- CRCT Practice or here: https://www.georgiaoas.org/servlet/a2l Each child in 3rd-5th was given a login. We sent the student logins home again in January. If you can’t locate your login- please email me at paula.huffman@cobbk12.org and we will be happy to send a new one home for you! We recently sent a required district letter describing our Maymester program. I wanted to take this opportunity to review and expand on what this program entails. According to Georgia state promotion guidelines, all third graders are required to pass the Reading CRCT in order to be promoted to fourth Grade. Fifth graders are required to pass both the Reading and Math CRCT in order to be promoted. All parents of third and fifth graders have been notified of this requirement. Students in 3rd and 5th who do not pass will be given the opportunity to retest on May 20th (Reading) and May 23rd (Math). This year Cobb County will not have summer school for elementary students. However, we still wish to provide remediation for students who do not pass the CRCT prior to them being retested in late May. In order to meet the potential academic needs of these students, we are providing a short remediation session called “Maymester”. Maymester will provide remediation in reading for 3rd and remediation in both reading and/or math for 5th. This Maymester remediation is ONLY for students who are at risk of not passing the CRCT. ALL 3rd and 5th grade parents were sent a letter explaining about Maymester. These letters were marked as to whether their child was identified as a potential candidate based on test scores and classroom performance. Maymester will begin in late April. If your child is participating, they will be a part of this remediation until the scores arrive in mid-May. Sessions generally last around two hours per day in each subject. Our current third and fifth grade staff will share responsibility for this remediation and classes will be covered by substitute teachers on a rotational basis for two hours if your child’s teacher is teaching Maymester on a particular day. We will give you a more complete schedule in April. Scores from our April CRCT will hopefully come in by mid-May. If your child participates in Maymester and does pass the CRCT on the first try, then they will not need to continue and will return to their regular class for the entire school day. If they do not pass the CRCT, they will continue with their remedial instruction and retake the test in late May. You also have the option for your child not to participate in Maymester and can decline this opportunity if you so choose. I do want to reassure you that NO student will miss fun end of the year activities such as Field Day, 5th grade banquet or visit to Mabry. We will work our remediation schedule around these activities to make sure all students can participate. If you have any questions about this process, please contact either myself or your child’s teacher for more information. It is our hope that we can help all children be successful. We truly appreciate your help in makingthis happen. Paula Huffman Principal
March Update Dear GM Families: Welcome to Spring! We have enjoyed several special weeks so far this month. We celebrated National PTA Exceptional Children's Week March 7-11. All of our students watched an excerpt of Front of the Class- a movie about Brad Cohen and his successful career in education while dealing with Tourette Syndrome. I know Mr. Cohen personally as he is also the Asst. Principal at Addision Elementary and his story is truly inspirational. From March 14-18 we celebrated PTA Health and Nutrition Week with special school to home activities and a Recess Boot Camp sponsored by Sports-A-Rama! Looking ahead we have an Honoring our Heroes Reception for all essay winners on March 23rd at 8:00 a.m. Brusters Night is also that evening (Trickum Road) from 5:00-8:00. Finally, we have Teacher Appreciation Week from March 28th-April 1st followed by Spring Break. Below is our March PAWS Article from Dr. Stasiak with some great testing tips for the upcoming CRCT which begins April 12th. We hope you find these helpful! The CRCT is fast approaching! The test starts on Tuesday, April 12th and ends Monday, April 18th. Students in grades 3-5 will be tested in the areas of Reading, English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. When you think of the word “testing,” what comes to your mind? A racing heart, sweating palms or your mind going blank may be a few responses. So how do we prepare our children so this experience is less painful? Some of the following tips are just common sense but are often overlooked. Before Testing….. The very best way to prepare your child is to let them become familiar with the testing format. You can go to https://www.georgiaoas.org, login with your child’s GTID # (given to you by the teacher) and the password “education” and have them take a practice test. Other important components include: Getting a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early. You will perform better if you are wide awake and well rested (and so will your brain!) Solve family/friend problems before the testing date. Talk to your child about any concerns that he/she might have about the test. Morning of Testing….. Start the day as you always do. Eat a good breakfast, don’t skip it. Food is brain power! Eat a balanced breakfast. Load up on protein, but avoid junk food, too much sugar, or anything that might make your child “crash” during testing. Be sure to pack a light nutritious snack that can be eaten between test subsections, but avoid salty foods that may make them thirsty later during the test. Another important component is to “think positive.” Say things to your child that will boost confidence. “This test can’t scare you, you are totally prepared.” Reassure your child and put the test in perspective… Tell your child that the test will be used to evaluate how well a school is educating its students. Explain that the scores are looked at along with many other pieces of information in determining your child’s achievement level. It’s only one piece of information and it is not expected that students answer every question correctly. However, remind your child that he/she should always try to do their personal best and to focus on the questions in other words not letting themselves get distracted because someone else has finished earlier. Take a deep breath…. If your child is a very nervous test-taker, have him/her do deep breathing exercise before the test. He/she can take a deep breath and count to ten. Then take shorter deep breaths in between passages or section of the test counting to three. This exercise is fast and simple but really works! Also consider dressing your child in layers so he/she can take clothes off or put them on, depending on the temperature of the room or their own personal thermostats. Other testing strategies…. Be on time for school. Testing will start right after morning announcements and it’s important to have time to settle in. Read the question and all answer choices before marking anything Pace yourself – limit the amount of time spent on any one question. Do your best and then move on. Focus on addressing each question individually. As you take the test, if you don’t know an answer, it’s okay. Eliminate choices that you know are incorrect. Then focus on the remaining choices. A word of caution about changing answers – do not change answers unless you are very uncertain about your first answer choice. Try to answer each question. Make the most intelligent guess you can. When using scratch paper on a math test, double check to make sure that you have copied the problem correctly from the test booklet. Line up place value correctly on you scratch paper, and if your answer does not match one of the choices, reread the problem, recopy the numbers, and try solving it again. If there’s time left, spend it on those questions about which you know nothing or almost nothing Remember it’s okay not to know everything – unlike class tests, these tests will have some questions designed to challenge the limits of your knowledge at a grade level above you current grade. Parents, please only share the testing tips that your child is ready for and will benefit from; it is not our intent to add stress to this situation. GOOD LUCK! Vicki Stasiak, Assistant Principal