Students in Indiana begin ISTEP testing after a winter of late starts and snow days

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 10, 2014) — It was a rough winter for central Indiana school districts. Students’ schedules were unusual and unpredictable due to snow days and late starts. The State Department of Education extended the window for schools to complete the first portion of the ISTEP exam because of the disruptive winter.

The window opened March 3, but most districts chose to wait until the week of March 10 to begin testing.

Indianapolis Public Schools will start testing Monday, March 10. The state’s second-largest school district has been helping students prepare for the test all year.

Teachers at Anna Brochhausen School, IPS School 88, ramped up efforts recently.

“Because of the snow days, we noticed that students were missing some skills so we`ve really started working with them before and after school,” said Jamie Seibert, who teaches third grade.

“We’ve filled in those gaps,” Seibert said.

The school held an ISTEP pep rally Friday afternoon to encourage students to do their best.

“We know that they’re academically prepared for the test so we just want to take this opportunity to let them know that we believe in them and that they need to believe in themselves,” said Principal Liz McNamara.

Many schools held similar events to encourage students and life their spirits before the test. At Nora Elementary, a Washington Township school, posters are hanging in hallways with encouraging words.

Adults in the building will wear a team t-shirt that says “Nora, do your best on the test!” Nora’s community partner Capital Group will deliver care packages that will include a healthy snack and a bottle of water.

“We have been doing many things throughout the year to help our students prepare for ISTEP and IREAD, everything from after school tutoring, to ‘brain break’ activities that help students with attention focusing strategies,” said Nora’s principal Suzanne Zybert, who had a special pep talk conversation with students Friday afternoon.

Not all districts start testing Monday. The window to complete this portion of the ISTEP closes March 21.

The message for parents from most districts is to make sure children east a healthy breakfast and stick to a regular bedtime during testing

In late April, students start the online multiple choice portion of ISTEP, which was marred last year by computer problems and shutdowns.

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