Test prep includes positive thinking
by Mark Andrews
Apr 12, 2013 | 2734 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Southern BMX Stunt Show
Cartersville Elementary School Principal Ken MacKenzie sits in a chair while Southern BMX rider Mike Green sails over his head. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
view slideshow (2 images)
Next week, third- through eighth-grade students will begin taking their annual Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. In an effort to encourage Cartersville Elementary School students to meet their academic and life goals, and to reward students for their ongoing academic efforts, the school on Wednesday hosted demonstrations by the Southern BMX Stunt Show.

According to www.southernbmxstuntshow.com, “Southern BMX Stunt Show began as a dream for Owner Danny Harrison. Danny has been riding and competing in flatland BMX competitions for over 25 years. In 2012, Danny took his dream and made it a reality...”

“What we do is we travel around Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, and we show kids that you can have fun riding a BMX and translate that to you can do the same thing in school,” Harrison said. “If you try hard enough, you can do anything.

“These guys want to do back flips, they learn how to do a back flip. Anything you put your mind to you can do, just think positive.”

The three riders, including Harrison, performed a show for each of the school’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade class levels. The shows included music, stunts and messages from Harrison about staying focused in school as well as always wearing one’s helmet when riding a bicycle.

Third-grader Caroline Morrison, who will be taking the CRCT for the first time, said her favorite part of the show was seeing a rider perform a back flip.

“I thought it was really cool; they work really hard so I was really happy for them,” Morrison said.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the CRCT “is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards.”

Beginning in 2015, the state will no longer use the federally mandated CRCT and will base its testing on the Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by 46 states, including Georgia.

Two years ago, the state received a waiver from President George W. Bush’s landmark No Child Left Behind, which called for the CRCT testing. In turn, Georgia has developed a College and Career Ready Performance Index and will abide by Common Core Standards as a means to show student progress.

Principal Ken MacKenzie said teachers at the school have been preparing students for the CRCT all year through individualized curriculums designed by the teachers themselves. He said events like the Southern BMX Stunt Show help ease some of the pressure associated with the CRCT and he encouraged parents to take some extra steps to help their children come to school ready for the tests.

“We ask the parents to do their best to get their students to bed on time the night before ..., I’d like to have them get here in the morning relaxed for school ... and just come in with a real positive attitude,” MacKenzie said. “My phrase that I use is, ‘every single minute, every single second,’ and that means I want the kids who take the test [to use the all time available].

“That doesn’t mean when you’re done taking the test you need to go back and change 16 answers, ... but careless mistakes can be made.”

For more information on the CRCT, visit www.doe.k12.ga.us.