Students sing an encouraging song Monday during a pep rally for the MEAP test, which begins today, at Ballard Elementary. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Students sing an encouraging song Monday during a pep rally for the MEAP test, which begins today, at Ballard Elementary.
Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Ballard ready to rock the MEAP

Published 9:20am Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ballard Elementary School is putting a unique twist on the definition of a pep rally, which is usually held before a big sporting event.

Teachers at the Niles school decided to throw a pep rally for something just as important — probably more so — than any football game: standardized testing.

Students in grades 3-5 at Ballard will begin taking the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP test, Tuesday. Testing runs through next week.

The pep rally was designed to get students excited for the test, while showing them they have an entire school supporting them.

“My hope is that they will realize they aren’t taking the test by themselves and that the whole school is behind them,” said third grade teacher Betsy Hickok.

Hickok is one of four teachers who helped organize and run the MEAP pep rally, including Heather Hoedema, Terry Merica and Staci Reith. Darla Schneider, district volunteer coordinator, also played a big role in getting the first-time project off its feet.

“We want them to realize it (MEAP) is a big deal and that they have our full support,” said Hickok. “We are a family and families support each other.”

The pep rally included words of encouragement from school staff, songs and cheers by students and staff.

Throughout the week, Ballard students in grades kindergarten through second will be presenting students in grades 3-5 with candy and cards for further encouragement. The students in grades 3-5 will return the favor after testing is over.

Joe Racht, Ballard Strive principal, may have summed it up best when he told the students he likes to think of testing day as game day.

“It’s a chance for you to take all you’ve learned and practiced and show the world what you can do,” he said.

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