Testing Brain Drain and the Best Sister Award

STAAR testing is over!!!  (For my elementary campus, at least.)  Nothing is as tiring as administering (and taking) this test.  I feel like I’ve run 2 marathons over the past couple days!  Now all that is left is the waiting game to get our scores, then to see how the GREAT (read sarcastically) Texas Education Agency changed the rules for passing standards and School Accountability standards.  Yes, they change the rules AFTER the test is given.  Does it make any sense? NO!!!

It is crazy how stressful this test is….on EVERYONE!  We had so many kids freaking out.  In my humble opinion, 8 year olds should be worried about whether or not it is their turn to get on the monkey bars, not a 4 hour test that may or may not reflect the amount of knowledge and reasoning that is in their brain.  Lest I climb atop my soap box, I should just stop now.

On our campus, we dress professionally on test days.  Our dress code is more casual most days, but we make exception on test week.  This means that one time per year, I don a dress. I always receive lots of comments, because, let’s face it….dresses aren’t my thing and as a result people rarely see me wearing one.  Running shoes and shorts are my thing.  But to prove that I own a skirt to the rest of the world, I took a pic before I changed into my comfy clothes last night 😉dress

Back to the test.  Taylor was in the first wave of Student Success Initiative, aka SSI, which meant that 3rd graders had to pass Math and Reading tests to move on to the next grade level.  I had suspicions of Taylor’s dyslexia in 1st grade but she wasn’t diagnosed until 3rd grade.  Taylor ALWAYS had major test anxiety when it came to any English/Reading tests.  I remember how off-the-charts nervous she was, anticipating her first Spelling test in 1st grade.  At the time, I didn’t realize what was fueling the fear.  I kept in communication with her 1st grade teacher, who had NO concerns of dyslexia.  Since Taylor’s dyslexia wasn’t severe, she was able to memorize all the words, which made her seem fluent in reading.  Her 2nd grade teacher didn’t have any concerns either.  However, it caught up with her early in 3rd grade when the focus transitions from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn.  The words became longer and harder; it became too difficult to keep memorizing all those words AND remember what the passage said.

We were so blessed to have a 3rd grade teacher that knew what to look for as far as dyslexia goes.  She asked almost immediately if I would agree to have her tested, and I was so relieved that someone else shared the same concerns that I had!  So my good friend, Cindy, who was our district dyslexia therapist at the time tested Taylor and she was put into our dyslexia program.  (The program that was developed by Scottish Rite hospital….which made running the Dallas Marathon so special to me, since that is their charity focus!)

The Scottish Rite program is a 2-year program and results aren’t usually noticed until the 2nd year.  So, 3rd grade was a stressful year for Taylor.  She was SO WORRIED that she would not be able to pass that test.  Of course, she passed!!  I remember 4th grade seemed a little easier, but she was still nervous about those tests.  After she was exited from the program, things started clicking for her and things seemed to come more easily for her each year.  She was (and still is) such a hard worker, which paid dividends where her school work was concerned.  She ended up graduating in the top 10 of her class and just this week received a math award from Texas Women’s University.  I’m so very proud of the wonderful young lady she has become!  She is absolutely AMAZING!!Taylor math award

This past weekend while Alli and I were camped out at the Dallas Convention Center for the Lone Star Classic National Qualifier, Taylor was in Minnesota coaching a team at Northern Lights Qualifier.  But she kept in contact ALL weekend, wanting updates on how Alli and her team were doing.  She called me more times than I can count, including early Sunday morning to talk to Alli and wish her good luck in the Gold Bracket.  She also brought home a sack of goodies for Alli, including a Happy Frog Volleyball.  Apparently they don’t make MadFrog volleyballs 😉happy frog volleyball

I don’t think Alli realizes how lucky she is to have such a thoughtful and loving big sister.  But I do, and I appreciate Taylor so much for everything she does for our family.

It’s been around 3 weeks since one of my vials of allergy serum was dropped and broken.  I went to pick up my new vial on Monday morning.  Since a new lab mixed this serum, I have to start back on a minimal dose and work my way up.  Translation: Jen is sneezing ALL.  THE.  TIME.  The spacing of these shots is to be every 5 days until I’m worked up to a full dose, but it is growing increasingly difficult to wait!  I’m staying focused on the fact that I actually have the serum and a few days of suffering is worth it to have the relief (and be able to breathe) in the long run.  However, my friend Carmen sent me this the other day and it seems more true now than ever: death star

If you are lucky enough not to suffer from allergies, say a prayer of thanks!

I’ll leave you with the beautiful flowers that Alli picked for me!  I LOVE Indian Paintbrushes almost as much as I love Bluebonnets!  indian paintbrushes

Happy Thursday everyone!!

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