Gainesville Daily Register

April 8, 2013

Pep rallies help motivate students for tests

Staff Report

Callisburg — CALLISBURG — Larry Goddard, a key communicator for public education in Texas, was the featured speaker at Callisburg Elementary School during what may become a standard event across Texas.

Goddard was the leader of a Callisburg Elementary School pep rally for the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test on Thursday, March 28.

It included student choirs and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) raffles; a release explained that more than 85 percent of parents and guardians in the Callisburg Independent School District attend PTO-hosted events.

“This will be an experiment — a trial — to use the pep rally format the week prior to standardized testing for an elementary campus,” Goddard recently said about the rally. “We hope to recognize educators, honor the content of what the children have learned, and express appreciation to the family and friends who have been the supportive link for success in standardized testing.”

Goddard said that too often, the full responsibility of test results rests on any given classroom teacher.

“That mentality has to change,” he said. “Family members are just as important in the education of this young generation as anyone in the process of education.”

Callisburg ISD principal Derrick Conley said his school is attempting to improve the future through the enhancement of its youngest students.

“Callisburg Elementary is laying a foundation for families, educators, and community to unite in building our children’s future,” brick by brick,” he said.

Goddard gives similar addresses all over the United States to school administration groups, including speaking to superintendents who have yet to receive their own certification.

“I give talks on the best practices for classroom morale and dedication, teacher motivation, and school district public relations,” Goddard said. “This is an attempt to create a template, a simple format that any school can put into place to help motivate students, teachers, parents prior to testing. It is a stressful time, just like playing in state championships.”

Goddard recently said that in his view, students are pushed to the point of test anxiety rather than given an opportunity to see the care in their teachers and administrators. “We can’t afford to lose this generation of students,” he said. “It is more important what they learn, rather than what they score on one test during one week.”

Goddard added that the community can show support by sending small gifts to teachers, offering to volunteer during the test week, and most of all, supporting school counselors.

“We will be closely looking at the results of this event and give presentations for Texas administrators and school board trustees if this works to improve scores,” Goddard said. “And even if that relationship cannot be proven, we feel it is valuable to cheer on the students taking this scrutinized standardized testing, that they, along with their classroom teachers, are creating the future of our country. We should show our spirit for their efforts.”