Third-, fourth-and fifth-grade students received special treatment for the start of ISTEP+, upon entering "the brain zone." The teachers rolled out the red carpet and welcomed students with applause.
"We had a workshop on ways to help prepare the students for testing, some of the ideas were involving a theme that the students could identify with and would help them focus," Debbie Zimmerman, Title 1 Coordinator of Forest Park Elementary, said.
The staff had a meeting and the brainstorming began.
Jenny Yocom's fifth-grade students decided their theme song "We will, we will, rock ISTEP+" was perfect for climbing the mountain for better grades. The students will have "smart stones" available to help focus.
In Jean Harris's fourth-grade class, students will be putting on their "brainy bandannas" before beginning their test. The students decided they will be playing Crazy Frog's "We are the champions."
Different classrooms have different themes, but the most prevalent one was motivation.
On Monday, students sat through a PowerPoint presentation with title song from the movie Rocky playing in the background. Secretary Jane Robbins and nurse Paula Nichols lead the students in two different cheers, and the students all received Smarties, or "smart pills" as they were called.
As students entered their classrooms, they found treats on their desks, two pencils, an eraser, bookmark, more Smarties and peppermint candies.
"The reason for giving the peppermint candy came from a workshop," Zimmerman said. "The teachers were told that along with smart teaching, careful preparation, a good night's sleep and a full stomach, peppermint candies are said to improve test performance."
The teachers have met with all students to talk to them about where their scores were in the past and then the student set personal goals that they would like to reach Zimmerman said.
"We are encouraging our students to always do their best," she said. "With the preparation, remediation, time and dedication the students and staff have put into improving our scores we know we will see growth."