Area pupils earn real stars for testing

NAMING STARS — John Gregg Elementary students are naming stars as a reward for performing well on their Star Reading and Math assessments. Students’ names are listed on boards near the school office, and Principal Tammy Burchfield randomly selects four pupils to participate. Shown are, front, from left, Steven Vahalik, Braelyn Rippee Cecilia Stacey, and back, Skylynn Zoellick. -- Contributed

BERGHOLZ — John Gregg Elementary students have an incentive to perform well on tests by earning real stars for their high scores.

“This is the second year for the program,” said Principal Tammy Burchfield. “We have four winners, and they will receive a certificate with a star’s location and get to name the star.”

Teachers Jodi Connelly and Mark Smyth developed the “You Can Be a Star” boards for grades one through six, and the school purchased stars through the Buy A Star website. Students who make the grade on their national Star Reading and Math assessments have an opportunity to name their own star in space. The concept rewards pupils for their results on the online tests, which are taken three times a year to indicate growth and percentile, but the COVID pandemic impacted activities until now.

“At the beginning of the year they take the Star reading and math test and then they would take it again in the middle of the year,” she explained. “Students who made four months’ growth are considered Star Learners, but we also had students make a full year’s growth who are considered Superstars.”

Burchfield said the students add their names to the boards, and she randomly selects recipients. The latest group includes second-graders Braelyn Rippee and Cecilia Stacey, who respectively christened their stars “Sparkles” and “Lilly,” fifth-grader Steven Vahalik, who named his “Flex Tape,” and sixth-grader Skylynn Zoellick, who dubbed hers “Batman.”

Burchfield said the starboard motivates the students in the hopes of naming their own star.


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