Every spring our regular school routine is disrupted for a few weeks as the kids participate in Pennsylvania’s mandatory state testing. These standardized tests are universally despised by all…the students, the parents, the teachers, and the administrators across the state…in fact I think the only true “fans” of these tests are the government officials that mandate their usage. So, as a collective group, we endure them because we have to.
Over the years we have found that the kids’ school, 21st Century Cyber Charter School, has done everything in their power to make the experience as bearable as possible on both parents and students. They try to make it fun for the kids and as a result my older kids actually look forward to this week of testing, rather than dread it like they have in years past.
This year it was just Molly and Rusty who needed to take the Keystone tests. As a senior, Grace was done with Keystones, and Ozzie had already completed his PSSAs in April. Molly had Algebra and Language Arts Keystones this year, and Rusty had Algebra and Biology Keystones to take. This meant we were at the testing site on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this past week.
Because my kids are cyber schooled, they don’t have an actual school site to test in, so their cyber school sets up testing locations across the state of Pennsylvania for students to test at. Our closest location was Butler County Community College where we have gone for state testing for the last 3 years. We are now old pros at this gig and have a system set up. Because of the one hour drive back and forth to this location we opt to hang out and wait rather than drive back and forth. Here is how we spends our days waiting for testing to be completed:
We begin by dropping off the testers at the Continuing Education building at 8:00am,
And then head next door to get settled in for the day. (We pretty much have the place to ourselves as classes are currently out.)
We begin our day with schoolwork. For the first few hours we do school work, accomplishing the last assignments of the year.
Tyler inevitably completes his scheduled work for the day before Ozzie is done with his 11:00am live class so we play one of the board games that were packed in my Mary Poppins bag of tricks.
This past week we played many rounds of Uno, Catan Junior, and Banana Split.
When Ozzie is done with his assigned work for the day we run all our school gear to the van and get our lunch. There is a walking trail around the campus that we would take to find a new picnic spot each day.
The favorite picnic location this past week was the baseball field located at the back of the campus. The boys got a kick out of sitting in the dugout and eating lunch in the stands.
On the second day of testing we brought a bat and ball and spent the afternoon playing on the ball field.
It was a perfect way to burn off some energy and kill time before the 2:00 pick-up time.
On Thursday we got a real treat when we saw the firefighters gearing up for training. From the ball field we had a perfect view of the firefighter training area. The boys we so excited to get this impromptu show as the firefighters trained by putting out a mock oil tanker fire.
Eventually we had to pull ourselves away from the excitement to go collect the kids. Testing was done for another year! As a “thank you” to the kids who showed up for testing each student received a new 21st Century t-shirt,
And as a thank you to the parents who drove them to testing, we each received a $3.00 gift card to Dunkin Donuts for each day we were there. These we given to parents so they could go get a coffee and donut as they waited for their kids to test, but we saved up our three days worth of gift cards and used them to buy a dozen donuts to enjoy on Friday. What a treat! Thank you, 21st Century!
Another year of state testing done.
We are now on the final stretch of school.
We can see the finish line approaching.
Only 10 more days and then:
“No more pencils,
No more books.
No more teacher’s dirty looks!”