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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Students rally to take tests!

  • The highlight of the rally was a skit performed by teacher Jill Stark starring in the role of Evil Informer and Northside Assistant Principal Mike Fugazzi starring as super hero Strategy Man!
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  • First time for everything and last week the Northside Elementary students held a pep rally in anticipation of taking the important MCA tests.
    It was not 'Rah, Rah, Rah Hold That Line', but 'Rah, Rah, Rah Take That Test.'
    The kids had a great time at the pep rally. The St. James High School National Honor Society students came over to encourage the students to do well.
    The highlight of the rally was a skit performed by teacher Jill Stark starring in the role of Evil Informer and Northside Assistant Principal Mike Fugazzi starring as super hero Strategy Man!
    Ms. Evil Informer spent the first half of the skit giving the kids bad information on taking tests. Entering from stage right was Strategy Man, who obliterated all of Evil Informer's plans and guided the kids on the right way to take the MCA tests to the boisterous cheers of the students. They were pumped up to take tests.
    Northside Principal Karla Beck said the pep rally, "Was about getting our kids excited for taking the reading and math MCA tests."
    The tests started this Monday and run for two weeks.
    Beck said, "We just want the kids to loosen up," but she knows these test are important to Northside.
    It was the student body doing poorly taking the MCA tests in the past year that designated Northside as a priority school. A priority school was one of the bottom five percent of the schools in Minnesota taking the test.
    "Bottom line, when it comes down to it, this is how we got marked low because we did not do well on these tests, and how we get out of this basement is doing well on these tests," the Principal said.
    It is believed the Northside Elementary School strategy and effort that in part has been funded by the Federal School Improvement Grant will result in better test scores.
    The students are not stressed out because of the importance of these tests, but the teachers and administrators know the importance of these tests.
    Hence things like the pep rally. "We're trying to instill in the kids that it's good to do well and fun to do well," Beck said.
    The school will also have the students get a little exercise to clear their minds before test taking and the children will be given peppermint candy because research shows peppermint helps improve test scores.
    There are also ego boosters from parents who are being encouraged to send notes in brown bags saying how much they love their children and encourage them to do well. The three younger classes will be cheering on the third, fourth and fifth grade test takers.
    Northside's ready, the tests are being taken now, but the results won't be officially known until August. That's a long time for the administration to hold its collective breath.
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