Carrigan uses pep rally to boost kids’ confidence about SBAC
Carrigan uses pep rally to boost kids’ confidence about SBAC
Posted on 03/25/2014
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WEST HAVEN, March 17, 2014 — From impersonating popular celebrities, to singing on stage, to organizing games, Carrigan Intermediate School staff members pulled out all the stops at two Friday pep rallies to help students feel relaxed and confident about upcoming state testing.

The event has become an annual tradition at Carrigan, previously focusing on the Connecticut Mastery Tests, which will no longer be taken in the district, and this year talking about the new Smarter Balanced Field Test. The school uses skits, songs and games in the Carrigan auditorium to teach students test-taking tips and build their confidence. But teachers also use it as an opportunity to tell the kids how much they enjoy having them in class.

“Plus, it’s a lot of fun and gives everyone—student and staff members—a chance to blow off some steam and have a good laugh for a great educational reason,” said Carrigan Assistant Principal Rich Weber, who MC’d the rallies.

The initiative is coordinated each year by Carrigan staff members who form a volunteer committee to write skits and songs, choose music, plan which test-taking strategies should be emphasized, and rehearse.

Friday’s pep rallies featured a parody of the Kiss classic, “Rock And Roll All Nite.” The new version, “Rock the SBAC Test,” was performed by the SpoRx, an all-teacher band composed of Weber, Frank Santacroce, Matt Lupoli, Jason Heffernan, Ralph Carranno, Greg Benn and John Merola. Group members--including a Gene Simmons look-alike on bass guitar—took to the stage, singing lyrics like, “You say I gotta take a test/I'm gonna take my time and do my best/SBAC is here but it don't phase me.”

“Celebrities” also stopped by for Cougar Talk, a pretend game show that let students quiz some of music’s biggest personalities on testing tips. Pop stars Kesha, Katy Perry, Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Harry Stiles, Macklemore, Elsa from Frozen and Lorde—played by Ralph Carrano, Frank Santacroce, Kerry Hemming, Jen Iuteri, Paula Dady, Erin Blake, Lenny Adams, Jaime Sitro, Mike Bartone, Maura Izzo, Casey Launder, Stacy Antonucci and Donna Pitts over the course of the two rallies—paraded down the auditorium’s aisles past cheering students to the stage and then doled out advice on getting to school on time and eating a good breakfast, sometimes singing their responses.

Students had their time to shine on stage as well. A group of about 10 kids during each pep rally had a chance to pop balloons that held SBAC suggestions on small pieces of paper. Weber asked each to tell the crowd their name, say something “awesome” about themselves, and read tips—such as stay focused, eliminate answers you know are incorrect, and get a good night’s sleep— that their balloon had held.

“It gets the central message across to the kids that they are prepared and ready for whatever the test might bring,” Weber explained.

Larger groups of students participated in a teamwork activity, standing in the auditorium’s rows while holding hands and passing hula hoops from one person to the next.

The rallies closed with a Powerpoint presentation that showed photos of teachers and staff members holding messages for the students. Each sign displayed a different message, such as, “You are marvelous,” “You are vigilant,” and “You are worth it.”

“The Powerpoint was all about letting the kids know how special they really are and reinforcing a Carrigan theme of PMA: Positive Mental Attitude,” Weber added.

See video of the band's performance below:


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