March 1, 2020
I cannot believe that it is already March. This school year is flying by so far. Yet, what is it about March? It always seems to be the LONGEST month of the year! Here in Massachusetts we had a pretty mild winter (Only ONE snow day to make up!!) and even still I am so ready for the warmer weather and to put my boots, scarves and gloves away until next year! So, whatś coming up for my class. Well, of course the dreaded state mandated testing. (MCAS). The beginning of March signals for many of us, that itś time to start our test preperations. It is now crunch time. Sigh….
Before I got on to write today, I checked my work email to find one from my principal saying that our #1 topic at staff meeting on Wednesday will be the MCAS. How can we bring our kids scores up? What are we going to do about our IEP kiddos? Again… sigh. My class of 25 this year, almost half of them are on an Education Plan, and two are on a 504 for anxiety/adhd. They are a great group of kids. They are kind, and they are funny, and even though some are stuggling academically, for the most part they are happy. They feel safe in our classroom and they feel included and respected. Honestly, to me, that is WAY more important than how they perform on this test.
Really, what can we really do? The system is not set up for success for these students. If they have reading/writing disabilities, if there Independent reading level is two years below grade level, then obviously they are not going to come out Proficient on a grade level test!?! It would be like me having to take a test in German, and then being told I was not up to par. Ugh… it makes me crazy. So how am I planning to go into testing season?? I will practice mindfulness, calm breathing, relaxation and yoga with my students. We will try to make sure everyday that ALL my students get to do something, create something, work on something that they will feel good about. To provide them with opportunities to be successful. I will remind them of all the growth and progress they have made this year, and that I am proud of their hard work. I will tell them… to just do their best and not stress. Oh, and I will do MY best to remember all of this myself… so that I too, do not stress. 🙂