From the Desk - April 2018

From The Desk of Rick DeMasters

It’s hard to believe that dismissal for the 2017-2018 school year is less than two months away. With that being said, the end of the year also signals that STAAR testing is upon us. Our campus administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and staff members have continued to seek new and creative methods to engage, motivate, and prepare their students for the upcoming testing season.

Under the direction of Celina ISD Bilingual/ESL Director Mrs. Olivia Vest, our limited English proficient (LEP) students were assessed through the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) throughout the month of March. Identified students in grades kindergarten through grade 12 are tested in four language domains, which include listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Student performance is assessed in terms of their English language proficiency levels to include; beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high. We are extremely proud of the work that our Bilingual/ESL Department is doing to create a successful learning environment for our LEP students.

The month of April signals that our students will begin their window of testing for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness,(STAAR) tests. The following includes the grade levels and exams that are scheduled for those students.

April 10 - STAAR Writing - 4th & 7th Grades

    STAAR Math - 5th & 8th Grades

    End of Course Exam (EOC) English I

April 11 - STAAR Reading - 5th & 8th Grades

April 12 - End of Course Exam(EOC) English II

For many students, testing can bring about anxiety and stress. We have a fantastic group of educators that have worked diligently to help their students prepare for these exams while minimizing their anxiety as to the approaching test dates. For parents, the Texas Education Agency created a checklist for parents to use with their children to help them do their best on their exams and are listed below.

  • Have conversations about the test/exam. - Openly discuss the test with your child and reassure them that you are proud of their efforts and hard work. Always be positive and relaxed.  Encourage them to do their best, but refrain from pressuring them.
  • Are they experiencing test anxiety? - The majority of students from one time or another will have some degree of test anxiety. Reassure your child that this is completely normal. Taking deep breaths, short breaks, and filling your mind with positive thoughts can help reduce testing anxiety.  A positive mindset and an “I can do this” attitude does make a difference!
  • Realistic Expectations - It is important that they do their best, but emphasize that the test is only one measure of their academic performance and does not determine a person’s intelligence or worth.
  • Encourage Study Time - Developing a consistent study time at home can help your child prepare for their tests and feel more comfortable when the day finally arrives.
  • Rest and Nutrition - Parents can make sure that their children have adequate rest the night before each test and a good breakfast the following morning to get them going in the right direction. Please refrain from scheduling any appointments on testing days, so that your child can focus on doing their best on their test.  As a reminder, we ask that parents refrain from eating lunch with their children on scheduled test days, due to the fact that normal daily schedules are disrupted in order to give students the best testing environment possible for success.

Their success is built upon the strong relationship between our teaching staff and parents.  I am confident that our district employs an amazing group of educators that go over and beyond to prepare their students for academic success at every level! We also appreciate the commitment and the continued support of our parents. And to our students, never forget that you are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and there is nothing that you will encounter down life’s path that you can not overcome. Good Luck!