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Teachers make final push ahead of Tuesday's STAAR testing

STAAR testing
Posted at 6:24 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 19:28:24-04

WACO, TX  — It's the moment school districts across Texas spend all year preparing for, STAAR testing.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests start on Tuesday.

Joshua Brown is an eighth grade English teacher at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Waco. He said his students are ready to take on the test.

"The kids are excited to take the test. I think they're excited to get it over with," Brown said.

During Monday's final push, Brown continued to go over reading passages from old STAAR tests with his students. This is something he's done with them throughout the year.

"We're making sure they know what the questions are, how they're asked, the different vocabulary words," Brown said.

Brown has noticed a tremendous difference in his students since the year began.

"When you get to this point in the year and almost every kid you call on can answer the question, that's when you know that you're really ready for the test and making progress," Brown said.

Waco ISD Communications Director Kyle DeBeer said the district has also focused on lifting up the schools that struggled in the past with STAAR testing.

The state rated six schools with "improvement required" in 2017. Five of those schools that were at risk of closing earlier this year are now being managed by Transformation Waco.

The four schools that now have a passing grade from the state are J.H. Hines Elementary, Indian Spring Middle, G.W. Carver Middle, Alta Vista Elementary and Crestview Elementary - though Crestview was never at risk of closing.

Brook Avenue Elementary did not pass but is still working to improve its scores. DeBeer is confident that will happen this time around.

"Over the past few weeks, educators across Waco ISD have been making a final push to prepare their students for the STAAR tests. That's included after-school and Saturday tutorials as well as the Spring Break Academies at each of the five schools that are part of the in-district charter partnership with Transformation Waco," Debeer said. "However, the real work of teaching and learning happens all year long. It includes a focus on the quality and rigor of instruction. It includes providing classroom teachers with the support and leadership they need to hone their craft, and it also includes the unprecedented number of volunteers who have invested their time mentoring and tutoring students."

"They've been working really hard," Brown said. "We've had a really good, successful year. The biggest thing for them is to not be nervous, to go in confident."

Brown said parents should make sure their students get enough sleep on Monday night and eat a good breakfast Tuesday morning. He said a few kind words will go a long way, too.

"Let them know that's important to you, too, that they do well and wish them luck," Brown said.