For fourth-graders, putting $20 bills in their hands should do it.
To encourage pupils to try hard on the statewide CRCT in April, Meadowbrook Elementary School held a pep rally Thursday in the lunchroom with hip-hop music, words of encouragement and incentives.
J.R. Henderson, the executive director of the National Lighthouse Foundation, passed out at least two $20 bills to cheering pupils and boosted their spirits as a DJ spun tunes behind him.
“What you must remember, first and foremost, is you can do anything you want to do,” Henderson said. “I don’t care what anyone else says. When I was younger, there were plenty of times when people told me I wouldn’t go to college, that I wouldn’t do well in school. But what I did was I allowed my haters to be my motivators.”
Carol Rountree, the Richmond County school system’s executive director of student services, said schools districtwide are getting creative to prepare students. The standardized assessment will be administered April 12-20 and will test third through eighth grades in math, reading, English/language arts, science and social studies.
Teachers use 15-day assessments to gauge where pupils stand on learning and which students need individualized help.
“It really helps us manage instruction better,” Rountree said.
She said some schools are holding pep rallies and others are sending work packets home with pupils to keep skills sharp during spring break.
Meadowbrook fifth-grader Kameron Griffin said teachers have talked about the importance of the CRCT since the beginning of the year and have incorporated skills needed for the test in everyday assignments.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s really long. But I like math so that’s the good part.”
But Kameron and his classmates got an even better reason on Thursday to do well on the CRCT. Henderson promised a festival and prizes for the third- through fifth-grade pupils after the CRCT so long as they don’t miss a day of testing, show up on time and have no disciplinary violations.
Henderson, a Paine College graduate, was joined for the pep rally by about eight students from his alma mater who have visited Meadowbrook all year to tutor pupils.
“A lot of kids don’t like to take standardized tests,” Paine mass communications major Kayla Everett said. “They know the material, all they need is a little motivation.”
Motivation was just what the pupils got before the dismissal bell rang Thursday. The lunchroom was filled with high energy, loud music and positive words.
As Michael Jackson’s Beat It played, Henderson called on the pupils to repeat after him: “That’s what we’re going to do to the CRCT. We’re going to beat it!”