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Howbert principal reports 'building-wide effort' in support of recent all-computer standardized testing

       Westside schools joined their counterparts around the state during the first two weeks of March in taking a new type of standardized testing in math and English. Called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), it's replaced the once-annual Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) and, before that, the
Deb Hawes stands outside Howbert after she was hired as the school's principal in 2011.
Westside Pioneer file photo
Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests. Colorado is among 13 states in the nation using PARCC testing, following similar "Common Core" standards, according to the PARCC website.
       How did PARCC work out? Below is what Howbert Elementary Principal Deb Hawes wrote about it in the April newsletter that recently went out to the school's parents.
       “I have to start out by bragging on our kiddos for just a minute. As you know, we had two weeks of the new PARCC testing in our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades during the first two weeks of March. And although these three are the grades that actually take the tests, it is absolutely a building-wide effort that produces the results we get - and these results tell part of the story of the greatness of Howbert. The younger kids made good-luck posters for the testing grades, and they are hanging in the hallways down the new wing. My favorite was the one that said, 'Make sure you turn your computer on!'
       “You would not believe the amazing job that our students did with this whole process; from all of the kids who were super-quiet in the hallways, to the second-graders who buddied up with kindergarten classes to provide quiet places for the testing kids to do their best work, to the first-graders, who did their PE warm-ups in near silence in our centrally located gym, to the building staff that provided lunch and clean up on an amended schedule, to the kiddos who so seriously gave their very best effort to show what they know on each and every one of these tests!
       “The whole school took the tests seriously, yet didn't get stressed about it! In fact, some kids were asking for more tests. I know, but it's true! I was incredibly proud of every part of the community of learners at Howbert - and the kids were proud of themselves, too.
       “We have a few more tests coming up in April; these are also going to be on the computers. The entire state testing series is on computers now. This is part of the reason that we purchased the Type to Learn keyboarding program for our students. (Thanks again to those families that donated to help us to purchase this program!) The less the kids have to think about searching for the right keys, the more they can concentrate on providing deep answers to the questions they are asked on these tests. You can help your child prepare to be proficient keyboarders by providing them with opportunities to practice if you have access to a keyboard. It's amazing how well many of the kids type already! I also feel like they were really engaged by taking the tests on the computer. They all worked so diligently!”

From a press release
(Posted 4/2/15, updated 4/3/15; Schools: Howbert Elementary)

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