COUTESY PHOTO - Crime scene investigator: Hettie Halstead Elementary students improve their reading skills for the 5th grade STAAR test while working as crime scene investigators during one of the school’s Saturday STAAR Camps. STAAR testing is held at CCISD for elementary schools March 28-29.

CCISD students study up at STAAR Camp

Special to Leader-Press

Copperas Cove students return from Spring Break to the task of taking the STAAR test at the end of March. For the last several Saturdays, CCISD schools have offered STAAR camps to help prepare students to do their best on the competency exam.

Halstead fifth grade students experienced some fun, engaging and educational activities at Saturday STAAR Camp which was primarily focused on reading and math but with a twist of fun. For reading skills preparation, students processed a fictional crime scene and had to make inferences and draw conclusions from the evidence they observed or found at the scene which also improved their reasoning and problem-solving skills. Students like Melissa Jackson were learning without realizing it.

“I felt like a crime scene investigator,” Jackson said. “It was so much fun.”

To evaluate and improve their math skills, students played math bingo, STAAR Wars, and other games focused on conversions, area/perimeter, and problem solving.

The fifth grade STAAR Camp is an annual camp that the fifth grade team puts together to help the students prepare for the upcoming STAAR test, said 5th grade teacher Nicole Green.

“At the camp, students are using their test strategies to manipulate the various activities planned. Teachers use this opportunity to reteach areas that have shown needed some improvement and all with hands-on activities,” Green said. “By the end of the camp, the students have gained more knowledge and understand how to use it.”

CCISD elementary schools will conduct STAAR testing March 28 and 29 and no visitors will be allowed on campus on these days.

Through the 2015-2016 STAAR test scores, CCISD not only received Texas Education Agency’s highest rating, but every school also exceeded all four index requirements. Schools are ranked in four areas to include student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and post-secondary readiness. Schools must past Index 1 or 2 and must pass Indexes 3 and 4 in order to receive the ranking of Met Standard. According to the TEA 2016 Accountability Manual, the basis of this process is to ensure that poor performance in one area or student group is not masked when calculating a performance index.

Under the state’s accountability system, school districts and campuses can earn distinction designations for outstanding performance in specific areas. Individual campuses are compared to other schools of like clientele. If a campus ranks in the top 25 percent, it receives a distinction designation. The district also received this highest number of distinctions in CCISD’s history with a total of 21, the highest number in the school district’s history.

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