With the yearly Criterion Referenced Competency Tests looming, Richmond County school officials created an online study tool for students to practice math and language arts problems before the standardized test begins April 14.
"We call it Spring Break Boot Camp," said Stacey Mabray, the district K-12 director of curriculum.
This year is the first time the district has launched an online study tool during spring break, but it is modeled on a similar program used during summer vacation.
Last summer, 1,436 students spent 25,000 hours studying on the district's online study program, Mabray said.
As far as getting students to forfeit their break to solve math equations, Mabray said it might be easier than it seems.
"We're not talking about you can't go swimming, you can't go to camp," Mabray said. "We're talking 30 minutes a day. It's really for when parents are looking for something for kids to do that can keep kids focused."
C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School Principal Renee Kelly said students who commit 20 minutes a day to studying online could improve their chances on the CRCT.
Still, the bulk of what students should learn to prepare for the test is taught throughout the year, she said.
"We talk about CRCT from the beginning of the year," Kelly said. "If you do a practice problem every day, by the time the CRCT gets here it's like 'OK, here's just another test.' "
Teachers at C.T. Walker have sent e-mails to parents letting them know about the new online Spring Break Boot Camp, Kelly said.
Math activities will be available for students in third through fifth grades, and language arts practice will be available for those in third through eighth grades.
Students can log in to the district Web site using their student ID to complete 30-minute activities.
Students without a home computer can log in from the public library or anywhere else, Mabray said.
"We just hope the kids will use it," she said. "But we're not worried about the test. We know they're going to do well."