Seeliger Elementary Student Remo Webster, kindergartener, slimes teacher Mary Keck on April 21 as student Mia Peregrina watches as part of the school’s incentive for meeting their MAP assessments goals. (Photo: Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal)
Students at Seeliger and Empire elementary schools who made progress along their MAPs last week found the experience to be quite rewarding, enjoying prizes they could take home or the sheer satisfaction of seeing their teachers get slimed.
The Measures of Academic Progress assessments for kindergarteners through third graders being tested in reading and math proficiency at both schools indicated students on both campuses overall met their targets.
To incentive the students in the school’s “Learn to Earn” campaign, Seeliger’s administration promised to slime its teachers if the kids met at least their spring goal of meeting a 50% pass rate, Vice Principal Rodney Butler said Wednesday. Willing teachers Mary Keck, Holly Weber, Mati Valenzuela and Jennifer Ingram all boldly committed to get dunked in pink slime for their students on April 21, while third grade teacher Brian Peterson agreed to cut his hair and shave his beard.
“The kids did extra reading and math homework, they did practice tests, they’ve been working hard all year with the remote learning,” Peterson said. “The kids are happy to be back (four days a week) and the teachers are happy to have them back in the classroom. … I think we did the best that we could and maybe there are some gaps but the kids have worked really hard to fill those.”
Butler said summer school will be opening the second week of June for families and students interested in getting caught up. Approximately 150 seats will be available, Butler said.
Watching the sliming, Peterson teased, “I think the teachers are having more fun than the kids!”
At Empire Elementary on Friday, kindergarteners during their lunch jumped at their names being called during a raffle that included prizes donated in the amount of $1,500 by Country Financial certified financial planner Sean Marler.
“I’m proud to represent a company who wants to enrich the lives of the communities we’re in,” Marler said. “Our corporate office has partnered with local reps to deliver essentially funds for people we consider heroes in teachers and schools being heroes, especially in times of pandemics, and it was a natural fit for our area, so we wanted to make sure that they got the money to help get the testing or at least the incentive for the kids to test well, and it seems to have been a success.”
Scooters, art sets, basketballs and Kindles caught the eyes of kids during lunchtime, marveling at the possibilities of what they might win after already receiving a bookmark and pencil for meeting their goal from taking their assessment, vice principal Nathan Brigham said. Brigham purchased the prizes for the different grade levels and held the drawings at the students’ lunches.
“They all still got something, and it’s amazing how excited kids are over bookmarks and pencils,” he said.
Brigham noted the tests were based on individual effort and not comparing students’ scores to a certain standard.
“The nice thing about the way we set it up is it was it was set up based on every individual kid’s growth so it wasn’t that they were trying to hit a grade-level target,” he said. “Your lowest kid and your highest kid had to work just as hard and had an equal chance of making their individual growth target.”
Brigham said they collected 343 raffle tickets between reading and math for the MAPS assessments. The data might not have resulted in significant improvement this year considering the circumstances due to COVID-19, but it was still important to celebrate the students’ individual progress regardless.
“Between only Mondays and half days, if you look at the instructional days kids were in seat, it’s probably only about half of what you would get in a normal school year, so we were really, really pleased,” Brigham said of the staff.