Pepped up for SOLs

Published 10:38 pm Friday, May 20, 2011

Making posters: Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School students in kindergarten, first and second grades made posters May 20 to encourage and support students in upper grades as they prepare to take the SOL tests on Monday.

School events rally students for state testing

Elementary students in schools across the city danced, sang and cheered to celebrate and relax before Standards of Learning tests start next week.

Nine of Suffolk’s elementary schools held SOL pep rallies for their students Friday to inspire confidence in the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

Northern Shores Elementary School principal Tara Moore said it is important to have these kinds of events for the students because they work hard to prepare for the tests.

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“They need to be supported and cheered on so they can do their best,” she said.

Northern Shores held a pep rally for its third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, with the Cheer Club performing chants of support sprinkled with test-taking tips.

“It’s just to pump them up and get excited about next week,” Moore said. “It’s kind of like getting ready to play the big game, like playing in the Super Bowl.”

The Northern Shores students also got to participate in “Minute to Win It” games that tested their knowledge of SOL material.

Students at Hillpoint Elementary School also got to play games to review. Parents and faculty challenged the fifth-graders in the school’s version of the game show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”

About 10 adults competed against four expert students in answering SOL questions.

Hillpoint assistant principal Lori Mounie said many of the parents had to consult the student body for help with their answers, but everyone did a good job.

She said the game provided a little extra review for the students. Hillpoint faculty also hosted an afternoon celebration for the students.

Mack Benn principal Melodie Griffin said her school held an SOL event last year in which the teachers performed for the children, but this year, they wanted to feature the students.

The lower grades cheered on the older students as they paraded down the hallway to the gym, which was decorated with signs plastered with words of encouragement: “You can do it! You’re ready for this!”

The third-grade class performed cheers while the fourth- and fifth-graders executed dance routines.

“It’s a way to get them in a relaxed atmosphere to set the tone but also let them know, ‘You’re ready,’” she said. “We just want them to have a fun time before the test.”

Booker T. Washington Elementary School had a rock star-themed event. Teaching assistant Katrina Riddick, who coordinated the rally, said the students are always excited about the event.

“The kids love it,” she said. “They are really rowdy and loud.”

Oakland, Creekside, Driver, Mount Zion and Nansemond Parkway elementary schools also hosted events for their students.

Teachers and faculty members at Oakland and Creekside performed cheers, raps and songs, while the Mount Zion PTA hosted an SOL festival on the school’s yard in the morning.

The tests will be administered to students in the third, fourth and fifth grades Monday through Friday of next week.

Students in Suffolk’s public middle and high schools started their SOL testing this week and will continue next week, with makeup tests scheduled for the following week.