AIMS testing to begin for elementary and middle schools

By John Stapleton

April 9, 2011 - 12:00 am
MUSC elementary and middle school students will take AIMS tests all next week.

It’s time again to sharpen those number two pencils.  For Maricopa Unified elementary and middle schools, next week, April 11 - 15, the students will be taking their annual AIMS tests.

Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) are the standardized tests used by the Arizona Department of Education to evaluate students, schools and entire districts. 

“We think we’re going to do good this year,” said Krista Roden, MUSD director of curriculum. “I think we’re going to show that Maricopa schools have been making positive strides and that we’re a great district.”

Advice and tips to parents have gone out from each school, as well as the district office. They include the following:
•     Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
•     Make sure your child has taken all necessary medication.
•     Remind your child not to leave any questions blank and to take the time to read carefully before answering.
•     Encourage your child to remain quiet and respectful of others while they are testing.
•     Please avoid being late or absent and, just as importantly, avoid the morning “rushing around” to get ready. The district recommends that a child is calm and relaxed as the day starts. 
•     Maintain healthy eating habits. Make sure the children have breakfast, and perhaps avoid food and drink with high sugar contents.

“Kids are just like us,” said Maricopa Elementary School Principal Rachele Reese, “They can have sugar crashes, and it could affect them. We really want to lessen as many internal and physical anxieties as possible and what they are eating can affect their energy levels, their ability to focus, and their moods. We want those moods to be positive and we want that to carry over into confidence, because they’ve worked hard in preparation for this.”

The district also emphasizes encouragement to the students, “We want parents to back their children’s efforts like they have all year. It’s important to give them words of support to do their best—that you believe in them. We want them to be happy when they’re coming in and to relax after school.” said Dr. John Flores, principal of Santa Cruz Elementary.

For the district, Maricopa Elementary and Maricopa Wells Middle School are currently in “Corrective Action” status, as their past AIMS testing have resulted in low scores. If the schools pass the standards, they would be monitored for two years before that classification is removed and changed to “Adequate Yearly Performance.”

Superintendent Jeff Kleck pointed to the positive gains of the district and believes all the schools will do well, “Of course we want all our schools to be classified as AYP, but progress is being made, and I look for it to continue.”

There will not be any early dismissals for the school week that aren’t part of normal schedules. Schools will maintain regular start and finish times, early dismissal Wednesday and afternoon lesson plans will be limited.

“It will be up to individual teachers if there is homework for the students,” said Dr. Flores, “They might provide some reading assignments to help students with the tests, but generally parents should expect little to no homework.”

Those students who miss a day of testing will be given the opportunity to do make-ups on April 18 and 20. Kinder and first graders are excluded from testing. High school students have already taken their standardized tests and will have normal classes.

Any parent with concerns, questions, or needing additional guidance for their child should contact their school administration or teacher:

Desert Winds Middle School (Joe Veras, Principal) 520-568-7110
Maricopa Wells Middle School (Rick Abel, Principal) 520-568-7100
Santa Cruz Elementary (Dr. John Flores, Principal) 520-568-5170
Butterfield Elementary (Dr. Ember Conley, Principal) 520-568-6100
Maricopa Elementary (Rachele P. Reese, Principal) 520-568-5160
Pima Butte Elementary (Korrin Ledbetter, Principal) 520-568-7150
Saddleback Elementary (Felicia Williams, Principal) 520-568-6110
Santa Rosa Elementary (Danielle L. Record, Principal) 520-568-6152

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