I will always remember my first day as an educator. Having gone through all of the necessary protocol for the first day of school, I was standing on the small porch of the trailer that was my classroom anxiously awaiting my very first student. The back door to the school opened, and my principal came through the door. A formidable man and retired marine, I assumed I was already in trouble. The principal stepped up onto my little porch and smiled. He spoke only these words, "Always remember, they are sending us the best they have." Then he turned and went back into the school. These words have stayed with me for 15 years. Our goal as educators is to send them back better.
USATestprep has been a partner in my classroom for about six years now, and if I hope to keep it going in the future, I need to get creative. Funding of any kind for this phenomenal resource is appreciated, but not always available. All educators are well aware that every dime is fought for by varying groups with different interests. In our school, we know cash flow issues and the difficulties faced in getting money for resources. If you are not a Title I school, the task is even more difficult. One idea we have had is to work with our PTSA to get them involved and interested in supporting the schools' need for the USATestprep platform.
To engage parents or other constituents not familiar with different aspects of what goes on in the building each day, we first need to educate them about what we need and why. Our efforts were best put into "Mustang Curriculum Night." Curriculum night is an opportunity for each content level, along with any special interest groups in the school building, to prepare presentations for families coming into the building. Curriculum night begins at six o'clock in the evening; this allows for more families to be present after work. During curriculum night, I was asked to present information on USATestprep to our families.
I created the presentation not only to explain the resource but to show parents how to log in and use the system with their students. We have awesome touch screens in our building, thanks to our county. It was fun to have the parents get an idea of what goes on in the classroom. We showed them content for each grade level, games available, and explained how it assisted us with student progress toward mastery of the standards. Parents stayed in the room, smiled, and were interested in the program--not, the norm for a teacher presentation to parents. USATestprep was successful in selling itself to the families of our students. Now that we have made them familiar with USATestprep, we will have them on board to assist with funding should it become necessary in the future.
This resource is too valuable to lose and has helped me move my students higher through challenging assessments and other activities. Your constituents are your best opportunity for funding if they understand the resource and can see an end product in the form of student success. Remember, they are sending us the best they have.
Thank you to our guest writer and teacher, Carol Mickus from Pine Mountain Middle School, GA.
About the author: Carol Mickus has 13 years of teaching experience and is currently teaching math and science to students at Pine Mountain Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia. She was also recently featured in "USATestprep in One Word." You can check out her classroom blog to learn more.