Schools celebrate conclusion of state tests

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Confidence wasn’t lacking at Natchez schools Friday.

After three grueling days of state testing, second- through eighth-graders felt the taste of freedom, the call of summer vacation and the personal assurance that they aced the all-important Mississippi Curriculum Test.

&uot;I got proficient,&uot; Robert Lewis Middle School seventh-grader Erika Steinforth said. &uot;Because I’m good in all subjects and I’m better than all the boys.&uot;

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Once the last of the makeup tests were finished Friday morning, the parties began at RLMS and both elementary schools.

Sixth-graders at McLaurin spent nearly all day outside for a cookout and games.

&uot;It feels good that the tests are over,&uot; Joseph Perry said.

Perry, who designed the MCT T-shirt his classmates wore Friday, said he felt good about his performance on the tests because he was prepared for them.

&uot;They gave us the tests to work in class to get ready,&uot; he said.

&uot;We did them over and over again,&uot; classmate Raven Murphy said.

Teacher Willie Mae Johnson said she was confident that her students tested well in the reading categories because of year-long preparation.

Principal Karen Tutor said 100 percent of McLaurin’s students showed up for testing and took the test.

To meet No Child Left Behind standards each school must test at least 95 percent in several subgroups based on economic status and race.

At RLMS, students unwound with crawfish, pizza and cake.

&uot;We were like zombies,&uot; seventh-grader Jamie Norman said. &uot;I did good because I had a good teacher, though. I’d come after school and she’d help me.&uot;

Norman’s teacher Cassandra Jones said all of her children came to school every day and worked hard on the tests.

&uot;I promised them a party, just to celebrate their success,&uot; she said.

RLMS, which entered Year 1, School Improvement based on last year’s test performance, must improve on this year’s scores or face more consequences.

The students were tested in reading, language and math. Middle school students spent nearly four hours a day on the test.

&uot;I’m just glad it’s over,&uot; Jarren Jones said.

&uot;It was just a lot of frustration and you had to remember stuff from the beginning of the year to the end.&uot;

Some test data will be returned to the district over the summer.