Austin kids Red Hot and Ready

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

The students of Miss McNaughton's class at R.L. Austin Elementary School in Georgiana pose in front of their class door which they decorated to reflect the theme "Red Hot and Ready for the SAT-9." Students throughout Butler County have spent the last year preparing for the Stanford Achievement Test-9 which determines their level of progress in academic subjects. Students across Butler County are testing from April 5 through 13.

Photo by Derek Brown

April is a stressful time for students across Alabama when they

take the Stanford Achievement Test-9 to determine their level of progress in the academic subjects such as reading, math, language, social studies and science.

So to reduce the stress and make preparing for the SAT-9 a little more fun, the faculty at R.L. Austin used a little imagination and a lot of competition to help get students "Red Hot and Ready for the SAT-9."

R.L. Austin Principal Alton Abrams said preparing the students for this important test has been a top priority for the teachers and included not only the necessary subject material, but also a generous supply of motivation and encouragement to help the students do well.

"Test preparation has been a year-long endeavor," Abrams said. "Teachers began the year by identifying students' weaknesses indicated by the SAT-9 results from the previous year, and remediating weak academic skills by providing the appropriate lessons to remedey those weaknesses."

He said students have been involved in various programs such as Accelerated Reader (computer assisted reading instruction), A+ computer curriculum, Math Team, Second Step non-violence curriculum, WRLA news team, Geography Bowl, Light Span reading activities (Playstation CD) and Writing to Read computer lab, and also have daily access to computers in the classroom with inidvidualized lessons for each student.

Abrams said the combination of these activities coupled with intensive SAT-9 preparation have helped get the students better prepared for the annual test.

Abrams said the students have received weekly training sessions involving "Test Ready" curriculum activies that teach test taking skills to students in grades one through five.

The school counselor also provided students in grades three through five a copy of their SAT-9 results from the previous year so they could be discussed and a goal could be established for improving the results from the year before.

Abrams said parental involvement has been a key factor in the test preparations at R.L. Austin. He said Teachers have been sharing testing information with parents during conferences held throughout the year, and parenting classes held at the school at night have also included information regarding test preparations.

He said some parents have received training with the new Light Span reading and math Playstation programs sent home with the students.

"We feel confident that are students are ready for the SAT-9," Abrams said. "The faculty, staff, support personnel and parents are working together to ensure each child has the opportunity to achieve his or her highest potential."

As part of the preparations, teachers encouraged students to participate in a SAT-9 poster contest and winners were awared cash prizes donated by Super Foods Manager Mike Viers.

Teachers and students also decorated the doors to each classroom to help illustrate the theme for this year's SAT-9, "We're Red Hot and Ready for the SAT-9."

The doors were judged and the winners received an ice cream and cookie party to add to the fun.

Abrams said a motivational assembly program was held to recognize students who scored at least a stanine of five or above. Those recognized received a certificate from the principal acknowledging outstanding academic achievement.

Abrams said area businesses also donated a number of items that were given away in a drawing. The donors and items included a $50 savings bond from Peoples Bank and Trust of Georgiana, a $50 savings bond from The Whitney Bank of Georgiana, two watches from Emily's Drug and Fine Jewelry, a large stuffed rabbit from the Family Dollar Store and a bicycle from the R.L. Austin Elementary School P.T.O.

Several teachers and staff members also donated prizes to the students during assembley. In all, about 50 students received a nice prize.

Student Jacob Hartin also was recognized by Abram's and received a plaque and $50 savings bond for earning the highest score on the SAT-9 last April.