DRS hopes to boost grade on state test

Teenage girls stand in a circle buzzing about the weekend, but the topic was unlikely for a group of teenagers.

Instead of planning their weekend outing at the mall, these FAMU Development & Research School students were planning to improve their 2001 report card grade, based on their success on the Florida Curriculum Assessment Test.

The results of last year’s FCAT scores showed that 63 percent of Leon County schools scored high with 18 of those schools receiving an “A”.

Unfortunately, FAMU DRS was not one of the 18 “A” schools or the high scoring 63 percent. DRS scored a “D.”

This school year DRS has vowed for not only high academic achievement but also high FCAT scores.

Algebra teacher John Saylor said the Math department has already decided to pretest earlier.

“Students are working on FCAT work books [Sharpening Basic Skills],” said. “We are surveying students to see how they prepare for the test, and also to see how students think in terms of such things as competiveness and their confidence levels.”

DRS students are expected to at least be able to achieve on level 3 (average) questions.

This will be achieved by a stronger commitment on behalf of the parents, students and the staff.

Throughout their daily classes, students are given workbook assignments and receive help from teacher assistants on the FCAT subjects of reading, writing and math.

“I think that we are prepared in all of are classes. We always go over FCAT standards. In each class the teachers will go over that section of the FCAT pertaining to class. We are trying to improve”, said Alex Foushee a FAMU DRS eighth grader.

While DRS is diligently working towards an “A” on the upcoming FCAT in the spring semester, they are not alone.

FAMU college students are getting involved.

Various departments are holding tutoring and mentor programs to assist DRS on its road to achievement.

The College of Education is one of those aides to DRS.

Every week a group of students, the majority of which are education students, go to mentor DRS students.

There are also organizations such as A-OK (Application of Knowledge program), which focus on tutoring students in math, reading and writing. This organization is starting its program this month and is looking for more tutors.

“I’m glad to see FAMU becoming more active with DRS. I think that if we were of more assistance last year, we could have helped the students improve their test scores and skills. Hopefully this year our work will pay off and maybe we as a student body could help to implement more programs such as seminars and pre-testing,” said Stephanie Russell, 19, a sophomore elementary education student and mentor.

With new programs such as pre-testing and surveys, more teacher and student involvement and the aid of FAMU mentors and tutors, this year FAMU DRS plans to be among the high scoring schools in Leon county, leaving others in the dust.