Horace Mann Elementary School kicked off testing season on Monday with flashing lights, pom-poms and energetic speeches meant to put a positive spin on an otherwise tense few weeks.
“This is a celebration,” said Mann Elementary Principal Rosa Alonso of the rally, which drew district administrators and local celebrities. “Our testing is our championship game and we are really getting the kids excited about showing what they know, and showing the world how smart they are.”
Horace Mann students are joining thousands of others — grades 2 through 11 — across Glendale Unified in taking the California Standards Tests, state-wide exams that assess proficiency in several subjects, including English, math, science and history.
The exams are a critical component of the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, designed to measure students’ academic progress. They also factor heavily in a school’s Academic Performance Index score, considered a summation of a site’s academic rigor.
Monday also marked the start of advance placement exams for students who are looking to earn college credit.
The California Standards Tests exams are given during a one-month window during the spring, although school administrators set the exact dates and times. Scores are typically released mid-summer.
At Horace Mann, the six days of testing will be spread out during a two-week stretch, Alonso said. The school is shooting for an API score of 850 after recording 827 last year, she said.
The testing kick-off has become an annual tradition.
“Typically, testing is a dreaded task and we are really making sure that it is not,” Alonso said. “They have worked really hard all year, they have learned all their plays, they are ready for it.”
This year’s celebration included the Roosevelt Middle School marching band and some “Grease”-inspired musical theater. There were also pump-up speeches from Glendale police officers — who drove their squad cars onto the school’s blacktop — and district administrators.
“I think it is important that these kids recognize that we are supporting them in doing their best and showing off the hard work they have done all year in learning,” said school board vice president Christine Walters.
Retired Dodgers star Al Ferrara told the student body that it takes a combined effort from all stakeholders to guarantee successful results.
“Remember when you take these tests, the tests are a team operation,” Ferrara said. “In other words, we all work together.”