Teachers prepare for students' return after extended break

ISTEP testing two months away

INDIANAPOLIS - Although students may have enjoyed an extra week off of school, teachers are concerned about how to reactivate and unlock the returning young minds next Monday.

Even though MSD Washington Township schools had the week off due to bad weather and hazardous road conditions, teachers have been hard at work in their classrooms.

For the past two days, teachers have been working on how to energize and refocus their students with ISTEP testing right around the corner.

"We want to hit the ground running when the kids get back. All the tedious things we can get done as well as the deeper things," teacher Sabra Grace said.

Grace and all 53 teachers at Westlane Middle School took advantage of the past two days. They said that successfully negotiating the rest of the school year means dealing with problems, attempts and solutions.

"We also have an opportunity to look at data to say which kids are showing a real need for more intervention or more time with this concept or skill and which kid needs to be pushed," Grace said.

Pushing might be necessary so students can excel on ISTEP tests. Teachers hope their students have spent time over the break reading books, but parents know what has really been on the agenda.

"Not doing work, not putting the pen to paper. Using technology, but not using it for the intended purposes for school," mother Aimbriel Lasley said.

Lasley’s 13-year-old daughter Aliyah Carrol admitted she lost her edge during the hiatus.

"I've kinda lost track of my time management and things like that, doing what I'm supposed to do," Carrol said.

The empty halls of the school buildings will be filled once again on Monday, and curriculum is not the only issue that the Westlane Principal Linda Lawrence is worried about.

"We just ran all their locker combinations, because they won't remember their locker combinations coming back in.  We've got ISTEP in two months. We've now lost five instructional days," Lawrence said.

ISTEP testing begins March 3.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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