Back to the Books and Upcoming Testing

By | January 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm | One comment | Columns, Education

This week, most schools in our valley are back to school. Winter break is over, Christmas presents have been played with, and the time for education is back. Children are quick to transition from school to vacation. Most of my students are mentally prepared for vacation weeks before vacation starts. I hear about the students’ plans for the vacation, what they want for Christmas, and how they can’t wait for vacation to start, and I hear all this weeks before vacation starts. Let’s take a look at what can be expected this back-to-school week and in the weeks to come.
We are in the week where students return to school, which is no easy transition. Many students will be suffering from some form of vacation separation anxiety or depression, but I assure you this is not deadly or serious. For parents, returning to the school schedule should be simple, just set the clocks and drag the kids out of bed. Bedtime will become easier to set when the kids have been up since the early hours of the day. Most teachers will understand students need time to recoup from their departure of a scholastic environment. I like to keep a light load of work during the first few days, but all bets are off thereafter.
Now that the students are back in school, there are some important upcoming items to note. Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) has posted on their website, www.dsusd.k12.ca.us, that American College Tests (ACT) for grades nine through twelve are taking place once a month on every second Saturday. The next ACT is taking place on January 12, 2013, this Saturday, at from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. For students who wish to attend college early, California High School Proficiency Exams (CHSPE) are also taking place every three months on the third Saturday. The next CHSPE is January 19, 2013, beginning at 7:00 am, and runs all day. The next SAT & SAT Subject Tests are February 2, 2013, then once a month on the first Saturday beginning at 7:00 am thereafter, and run all day. These testing dates are generic for the Unites States. At www.sat.collegeboard.org, and at www.actstudent.org, you can find registration dates, fees, testing dates, and testing locations. You should also reach out to your local school district for information about these tests.
I know that students do not want to think or worry about tests, but colleges care and rely greatly on tests for placement. Students do not look forward to the SATs or ACTs, and if they do, send them to my classroom because I want to meet these rare students. Remember the key phrase of “talk to your kids.” Sometimes, all a kid needs is a good old-fashioned talk with mom and dad to set the kid in the right direction in life. In today’s age, the right direction almost always leads to college. Many students do not think or plan further than tomorrow, unless it involves a vacation, holiday, or a weekend get-together with friends. It is up to us as parents and teachers to talk to the kids about these tests. A good and positive talk will help them relax, study, and push them to do their best.
Many parents believe they are unequipped to help their student study, but fear not, there are literally thousands of websites, books, and tutors that can help with study for specific subjects and tests. In today’s age, the most a parent needs to do is supply the opportunity, help the student stay on track, and give some words of encouragement. So, if your child seems a bit sluggish this week, they will return to their proper self soon. Also, don’t forget to mention these tests, and listen to your child to better understand what they expect. Not all students have the ambition to attend college, but most avenues of life can be improved through college.

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