Written by Mallory Orr, AmeriCorps Member serving on the Entergy Louisiana Team at Broadmoor Middle School

Today marks the start of state testing in Baton Rouge Public Schools. Our teachers have worked tirelessly to give the students the tools they need to do well, AmeriCorps Members have spent the past month giving students last minute tricks and tips, and students have found themselves wading through waters leading to their most important test of the year. These tests are important in the sense that they give students the opportunity to show off their abilities, but they also come with a great deal of pressure.

My team and I have worked hard this year to ensure our students feel confident as they approach this milestone. I try to remind my students each time they take a test to remember the simple things like “take your time” and “relax” but I know this is not easy after years of education in a setting where scores can determine a student’s future. As my students enter this test week I hope they know three things.

To my students-

You Are Capable: I have watched you read hundreds of pages, I have watched you write thousands of words, so I know you have the ability to conquer this test. You amaze me each time you ask a question eagerly, or raise your hand impatiently to answer a questions you know the answer to. It has been my pleasure to help prepare you for this test, but I know that each of you has always held the ability to do well. I hope you remember that you’ve learned so much this year-and all you have to do is apply the knowledge you hold within.

You Control You: Each of you has the chance to determine your own future. When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish any dream you have. While this test is not an end all be all-I do hope you each choose to try your best. If you can carry this mindset with you through life, it is inevitable that you make great things happen.

You are Loved: Each of you are loved. I know I speak for myself and my City Year team. Remember know matter what that you are cared for, and that I hope for nothing more than your success and wellbeing.

While this test is the culmination of students’ academic work this year, this year has been about so much more than preparing for this test. It’s been about hard work, lots of laughter, and the devotion of students and staff. I enter this week excited to see what my students can accomplish, but even more excited to get back in the classroom with them once it’s over because the time with my students is the time I cherish most.

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