COPPERAS COVE — Hettie Halstead Elementary School turned into a day camp odyssey Saturday, as fifth-graders in yellow camp T-shirts hopped, skipped and ran from station to station during the school’s first State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness program.

“Of the 48 fifth-grade students we have here, 34 showed up for camp and they’re having fun doing math, reading and learning more about science,” Principal Sheri Welch said. “This is all in preparation for the STARR tests in April.”

Enacted by the Texas Legislature in 1999 and modified in 2009, the Student Success Initiative requires fifth- and eighth-grade students to take the STARR reading, science and math tests in order to advance to the next grade. The goal is to ensure students receive sufficient instruction and support to be academically successful in reading and mathematics.

“My STARR team of teachers did a tremendous job preparing for all this,” Welch said. This is the first of three STARR camps. Sara Wiger planned the Saturday’s math activities; Christopher Owusu prepared the reading activities for March 22; and Nicole Green planned the science portion for April 12.

“The objective is for students to have fun while engaging in learning,” said Green, the fifth-grade STARR chairwoman. “Children learn differently and so these activities help them do so in a fun and safe environment.”

“I wanted to come so I can see my teachers and friends,” said 11-year-old Kintrell Jones, who Green said practically ran to school he was so excited. “We play and do some work and I learn to do better.”

“We’re learning, but still having fun with friends,” said Kayla Kibler, 10, as she looked forward to the transformation art station followed by the jumping to conclusions station.

“I learned to convert kilograms into grams and ounces into pounds,” said Valentina Benally, 12.

“This helps bring it all together,” said Natalia Gadea, 11. “It’s an interesting way to get ready for the tests. If I had my way all of the learning would be like this.” | 254-501-7476

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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