Fitzhugh Park Rallies Around Test Takers

OSWEGO, NY – Mandated New York State tests have been in the spotlight for quite some time.

Teachers and students at the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School want do achieve as well as possible and started an effort to build confidence and enthusiasm over the testing.

Principal Donna Simmons said, “Our school worked together to make the two weeks of English Language Arts and Math New York State Testing as motivating as possible for our students to do their best. These tests are challenging and exhausting and our students have been working very hard to prepare.”

Third grade teacher Andrea Latta, spearheaded the initiative to have Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers collaborate with third thru sixth grade teachers to provide the older students taking the tests with support and encouragement in a fun and inspiring way.

Simmons explained, “Teachers volunteered to participate and K-2 teachers were paired up with teachers in grades 3-6. All the 3-6 teachers had to do was agree to participate and the K-2 teachers would take care of everything to do something fun and creative to get our 3-6 students excited and motivated to take the tests during the week.”

Teacher Judy Osetek said, “I teach fourth grade and was paired with Val Donovan’s kindergarten class. On the Friday before the week of ELA testing, I received an email from Val asking if we could be in our classroom on Monday (day before ELA testing began) a little before three o’clock so that her class could come visit us and give us a little cheer to motivate us for the upcoming test. So on Monday, just before three o’clock, I had my class all settled in, waiting excitedly for Mrs. Donovan’s class to arrive.”

Continuing she said, “We had no idea what to expect. As we were waiting quietly, we heard a familiar song in the distance. Soon the sound grew louder and sounded like it was approaching our hallway and in just moments, the words, ‘We Will Rock You!’ were even stronger as Mrs. Donovan’s class, led by Mrs. Donovan, Mrs. Cota, and Mrs. McCauley entered our classroom with personalized flags with words of encouragement and bags of goodies for each student. After Mrs. Donovan turned off the motivating music, she unrolled a proclamation just for our class, declaring this week New York State Testing Week, giving us sincere and inspiring words of encouragement to do our best!”

Osetek said, “But that’s not all. After the proclamation, we were handed papers with New York State Testing Monsters on them and asked to stand up. After counting down from ten, all together, we beat that test by tearing the ‘monster’ into pieces and stomping on it! We all had a great time, a nice diversion from all of the hard work over the past months! Mrs. Donovan’s class left with a big thank you for our appreciation of their encouragement and support.”

The students were very touched by the younger school mates and their interest in going out of their way to recognize our hard work and encourage those test takers to do their best.

A note of thanks was sent by Osetek to the younger students and read, “Wow, I’m speechless! I can’t thank you enough for what you and your class just did for us! That was so creative and inspiring! My students are so thankful for what you did! I had tears in my eyes as you presented us with the proclamation – it was one my proudest moments as a teacher watching you, your students and teaching assistants bring us that beautiful moment in time that my students will never forget!”

It was noted that one fourth grade student said, “Mrs. Osetek, now I actually want to take the test!”