This is the second August that we’ve offered the Regents exams to our students, free of charge. For those outside of New York State, these are the state exams that our students must pass to graduate. Also, the scores achieved and Regents courses/exams taken indicate the diploma type for graduation. The exams include Comprehensive English, Math B, Living Environment, Chemistry, Global Studies and Geography, and others.
Our teachers come in for five days of review prior to the exam and work with students for a couple of hours each day. It’s a completely voluntary testing opportunity, just our way to give students another chance at the Regents exams.
We’re a small grade 9-12 high school, about 500 students, and we had 161 students “register” to take one or more Regents exams. And on the past two beautiful days in August, we had 120 students show up to re-take a Regents exam. Our guidance director and teachers had a lot to do with it, as our guidance director, Beth, called just about every student to encourage participation. And teachers did their best to encourage students to come to the review and to prepare for the exam.
The best part for me is knowing that 120 students cared enough to show up, when it wasn’t required, to try to improve a test score. And that’s what about 35% of our students came for specifically. They’d already passed and just wanted a better score. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
And the other great thing about it? The students who passed on this August administration can now have schedule changes made for September 5, moving forward in their course work toward graduation and saving valuable time that otherwise must be devoted to repeated courses or to academic intervention. This should keep students moving toward the goal of a diploma as it’s much easier to convince students to stay in school when they’re on track and making progress.
So for every teacher and administrator who grumbles during the school year that “these kids won’t do anything and they just don’t care”, please think of the 120 students who showed up in G-town on August 16-17, just to improve and move forward. I’m glad our School BOE and Superintendent recognized the value in showing our students that we care enough to offer the opportunity. When we don’t care enough to offer opportunities, students don’t have the chance to show us what they’re made of, which looks like pretty strong stuff.