100 Days

Yesterday, we reached the 100th day of school — triple digits.  From this point on the year will whiz by at the speed of light… 80 school days from now we will be all done. For kids, that seems like an eternity, but for me Day 100 is the point at which panic sets in.

In Massachusetts – and in most of northern New England – we have a school vacation week coming up beginning next week. Originally put into the academic calendar to accommodate the ski areas, it morphed into a week of “energy savings” in some districts. No students = low(er) energy costs for buildings. I’m not certain I buy into that one. It seems like teachers and custodial staff both show up for chunks of time during “vacation” weeks to catch up.

After the vacation week, my third graders will be subjected to a battery of tests that rival the National Teachers’ Exam (remember those?).  First, each ELL will be evaluated for language acquisition using the MELA-O (more of an observation really), then they will take the more formal MEPA test. The District Math benchmarks are opening up on the Monday after vacation and all students will take those tests. Then there will be end-of-term assessments in the classroom, and last – but certainly not the least – we have the MCAS Reading Test, my students’ first foray into state-wide testing.  Just thinking about all the testing is making my head explode – imagine what it must be like for a 9 year old.

But wait, that’s not all. We have another round of testing in May (MCAS for mathematics) and more required assessment.  After we hit the math MCAS, we’re on to end-of-year activities – field days, final field trips, report cards, Team Meetings…. yikes!

So for me, Day 100, while a milestone in our academic year, is the start of stress season. Heaven help us all!

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