I Know I Can!: Sunday rally aims to build test-taking confidence
High school bands and cheerleaders set the scene at a pep rally for another high-stakes contest. But this time, the playing field is the classroom and the goal is success on several state tests to be administered in March.
Dayton Public Schools’ second annual Rally for Success takes place Sunday, March 6, from 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Sinclair College’s Ponitz Center and is open to students, parents, school employees and community leaders. Parking is free under Building 12, located at the corner of Fourth and Perry streets.
“We want to send a message to our students that they will succeed on these state mandated tests,” said Superintendent Percy Mack. “We want to remove some of the stress from the testing process and demonstrate our support for our students and staff, who have worked hard to prepare for the upcoming weeks of testing.”
DPS students and their counterparts across the state in grades three through eight and 10 through 12 will take the proficiency tests, achievement tests, or the Ohio Graduation Test this month. Most of the testing will take place between March 7 and 24.
The rally will feature participation by Meadowdale High School cheerleaders and rappers; choirs from Colonel White and Dunbar high schools and Valerie Elementary; and the Lincoln Elementary choir and jazz band. The celebration also will include motivational presentations by the Superintendent’s Student Senate, remarks by 2004 MLK winners Kristin Myers-Young (Dayton Early College Academy) and 2005 MLK winners Khiry Patton (Kiser) and Shaina Moore (Roth).
Double-digit growth in Dayton’s test scores has outpaced state and national norms over the last two years. This improvement is credited to a districtwide focus on literacy and mathematics, with a teaching focus on student achievement and use of data to target areas in need of strengthening.
With assistance from literacy coaches for the second year, teachers helped elementary students move from below proficient to proficient and above in reading in 2003-2004. At the secondary level, students achieved a state indicator in tenth-grade writing. DPS expects to see similar gains this year.
Math coaches also were added last year, with solid results; and the academic focus expanded to include writing and attendance.
School officials note that when students do not attend school during testing, they are counted as having failed state tests. Student absenteeism can have a profound impact on district test results, as well as general classroom performance, retention and graduation.