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DC Virgo dropping electives to study for end-of-grade exams

READ MORE: DC Virgo dropping electives to study for end-of-grade exams
NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- New Hanover schools are out for spring break this week, but when the students at DC Virgo Middle School head back to class they'll face some intense preparation for their end of grade exams. School's out this week. When kids go back there's only one more thing to anticipate: the North Carolina end-of-grade exams. At the end of every school year students in grades three through eight take the EOGs, to measure their proficiency in reading and math. For some students passing the test is easier said than done. DC Virgo Middle School Principal Megan Silvey said, "The name of the game is test scores in public education these days. All 50 states have some sort of accountability system, so whether you like it or not you need to play the game and to be successful at the game you need to prepare these students for these end of grade tests." For the past six years Virgo has come in short of state expectations in their test scores. So to gear up for this year's test students will return to class facing a new curriculum. Five weeks of smaller classes will focus entirely on test taking. "This is sort of a let's all bring it together and have a culminating, serious, intense program in a short period of time. We will prepare these students for the end of year grade reading and math tests," Silvey said. In order to make time for more test-preparation traditional electives like band, chorus and physical education will be taking a back seat. Teresa Little-Soles's son Noah started going to Virgo Middle just to play in the band. She questions the school's plan. Little-Soles said, "How come this wasn't done from the beginning of the year? School is 180 days and they are telling us it's only 25 days that they are doing this. How can 25 days make or break the situation now if this has been going on for several years at Virgo." Other parents say if the extra studying will help then it's a good idea. Virgo parent Edwina Marbley said, "I'm in favor of it. I think anything that's going to help our children with their education and make higher score grades on the EOG we as parents should stand the administration at Virgo and just show them that we support what they are trying to do." Even after the five weeks of exam preparation Virgo could still fall short of its goals. If that happens the state could send in a team to reevaluate the teaching practices there. For now parents and school officials will just have to hope for the best on exam day. If every student improves just three points in proficiency, Virgo will have met its expected growth requirements for the year.

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DC Virgo

Some Atlanta Schools are paying students an hourly wage to study during elective periods...If it keeps a kid off the street, it's worth it. Maybe our school system sould consider it.

Better Idea

Flunk 'em if they don't study. I still like the idea of bodily injury as a consequence of not performing.

Typical system

They can't do their job because the teachers union makes it too easy for failing teachers to remain in the system. Kinda like Pender schools shipping the worst students to other testing sites so that they can improve certain schools performance records. It's not about accountability these days, it's all about finding new ways to cover their butts. It's still a load of BS. If the teachers were doing the job they were intended too in the first place then there wouldn't be this problem.

Teacher Union

There is no such thing in NC, at least like the labor unions up North. Teachers can't strike in this state, there is no binding arbitration to deveolp a work contract. There are a couple of state-wide professional associations, but that is not the same as a union. It would help the teachers a great deal if you would teach your children to have a little respect for their elders, and maybe get involved with their school life. If a school is failing, it just isn't the teachers'fault alone--school, family (what's that?!) and community must share the blame.

Teachers

The teachers could probaly do the job they should be doing, if they did't have to babysit and teach students the things they should be learning at home.

Money is there

Let me tell you something the money is in the school system, It has always been there. It is who is managing it that needs to change. back in 2005 I did a study on kids that were in the school systems with special needs that have IEP (Indiviual Education Plan) this is where you can put things in place for the kids to learn. For Example: readout load testing , books, etc.. in place. at that time there were 954 kid in Pender County the State and Federal Government gave $ 4000 to each child that has a IEP in the public school system to get what they need books, visiual equipment etc.. but, but, 98% of that money goes to salary for teacher. My son had a vision theripist that was over three counties. Now for those of us that are left behind and our funds are cut. I will do the math 954 x 4000 = 3,816,000 in to the school systems to pay for what they need.(per year) Also all this preK regisation is for money. all these kids in the school system, but, then you won't have enough teacher, desk, books, food. It is a big mess. It all is MONEY

A Joke

The NC school system is a JOKE. Schools get funding for books but most children don't have books to bring home because there are not enough to go around. No Child Left Behind is so stupid because teachers can only teach for the test and the test is inaccurate. It doesn't measure anything about how intelligent a student it just says they can spit out only what is taught for the test. Get real people our children get a 5th rate education and most don't learn a thing.

Try educating them all year long!

If schools were teaching and testing the way they should throughout the school year, they wouldn't need five weeks of intense preparation for the end-of-grade tests. Anyone knows that "cramming" is an ineffective and often self-defeating method of studying. If the curriculum has been taught appropriately all year long, taking the test should be a piece of cake. The majority of students would pass it without panicking.

Test Prep

I hope they don't overdo it with these kids and burn them out. You can overprepare, you know. Kids need the break that electives give them from hard core academics. Actually, significant quality parent involvment from day one would have been better preparation than this. Don't blame the schools or the teachers. This "everything depends on this test" mentality starts in the federal Dept. of Education and is forced on the NCDPI (and other states) by idiots who can't find a light switch without a map.

This is what is wrong with our school system!

Everyone knows "no child left behind" is a joke. Some kids just aren't good test takers. We need to recognize each child's strengths and build on them. If a child is learning about something he or she enjoys, they are more likely to stay in school and succeed in life.

Just Money

This you can check with you local school or broad of Education. The state only looks at the one time the child takes the EOG. The kid can take it up to three times before school ends. Doesn't mean anything if the kid pass it on the last try. The state only looks at the first time. It just means more or less money for the school. I think school put way to much press on kids and teachers about EOG testing. It also counts for teacher's bonus. CHECK IT OUT

I feel that the only reason

I feel that the only reason that this is being done is to ensure that the students pass so that the teachers, including the poorer ones, get their bonuses. A real cop out and the student is the victim.

No, the reason they are

No, the reason they are doing it is because the next step if they don't make better test scores is that the state can come in and place their own administrative team in place. And what's so wrong with teachers wanting bonuses? When you divide the teacher salary by the number of hours they actually work, most don't even make minimum wage!

Like swimming upstream....

The bottom line of this issue is what several have touched on here -- the No Child Left Behind Act. This act is so bad in so many ways -- it made it where Paraeducators (what we used to call Teacher's Assistants) are now supposed to have at least a two-year college degree. That's not a bad thing, but when it was implemented, there was no "Grandfather Clause" to protect the paraeducators already in the system. As a result, a friend of mine who was within 5 years of retirement was let go because she wasn't in a position to go back to school -- by the time she could have gotten that "2-year" degree, having a full-time job and going to school, it would have been time for her to retire. Also, it cut the time that "Lateral Entry" teachers have to achieve certification, but gave them no support (financial or otherwise) to do so (Lateral Entry means you have a degree in something that's not education, like Accounting, and decide you want to teach math.) I also have some experience with the faculty and the student body at Virgo, and I can tell you this -- every teacher there is "Highly Qualified", to use the NCLB language, and every teacher there is and has been working as hard as they can. There is quite a bit of truth to some of the comments about the student body -- so many of them come from such damaged homes that the only thing they know is conflict and failure. They do not value education and neither do alot of their parents. By the time they get to middle school, it is almost impossible to change their minds about that. So there are classes full of students who couldn't care less about learning or test scores. And yes, there is a monetary bonus for the teachers if the school's test scores are at a certain level. But at this point, I don't think that's what is motivating this schedule. I think it has more to do with the consequences dictated by the NCLB. And you can raze the teachers and administration all you want about trying to save their jobs, but if there are no teachers or administration there, who do you think will teach our children? Elective classes are important for many reasons -- much more than just giving the students a "break" from their academic classes. And while the students at Virgo are still receiving elective classes, they were randomly assigned to them, and that has had an enormous and horrible impact on the performing electives in particular. There may be some positive results coming from this schedule, but at what cost? Now we've told those students that the only thing that matters is how they do on their Math and Language Arts EOG's, so how much do you think they're going to care about their grades in the elective classes? There are so many long-reaching implications to this decision that most people haven't even thought about yet, and I'm afraid those implications may not rear their ugly heads until it's too late to repair the damage.