Dr. Andrea Ramírez recently invited Cecilia Negron-Martinez to discuss how parents and teachers can help students to prepare for standardized tests at school.
Cecilia Negron-Martinez has worked in the Chicago public school system for almost thirty years. She also serves as an Associate Pastor for Church of God and is pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies via Pentecostal Theological Seminary. A mother of two, Cecilia has been married for 26 years.
Cecilia, you’ve work in the Chicago public school system for almost three decades. All the while, you’ve been involved in ministry at your church, and alongside your husband you’ve raised two beautiful daughters. You’ve certainly lived out your personal motto: I was born to do great things and those great things are to serve others and to serve God.
Recently the NHCLC helped you host an event in Chicago to help prepare Latino parents and students for state assessments at the end of the school year. Sometimes there can be a negative perspective on tests and assessments, so we were eager to encourage students to know that tests are just one way to get information about their progress, but not a part of their identity. Their identity is in Christ. We encourage families to participate in state-based tests since they provide valuable information to teachers and schools which shape student instruction. Can you share with us what can parents do to help their students get ready for tests?
First of all, I want parents to understand that tests are not the enemy and neither are the teachers. The teachers want students to do well and there are a few things that parents can do to prepare students for testing. They can help students get to bed a bit earlier than usual, and they can talk with their children about the tests. So often students come to school nervous about assessments. Let them know it's just a way for people to “know what you know.” Another best practice is to make sure students eat a good breakfast.
At our school, we have mints available for the kids during testing, which can aid with concentration. We encourage them to bring water for their desks. And the teachers create a really relaxed environment. I encourage parents to pray for teachers as well as the students. There's been a lot of negativity surrounding state testing lately, but you know what? We have to be positive people in this discouraging world.
I have to admit, I serve in a great school. We're predominantly Latino families and it's nice to see the parents really getting involved. They care, the teachers care, and the administration cares. It takes a family to raise those children. If we all can be positive, the test season can be joyful. Before your children before they leave for school on test days, remind them: “Go out there and do the best that you can! You are blessed and highly favored!” They'll believe you, and they'll be light in the world.