wilbert-tee-holloway_web.jpgStudents across Miami-Dade County are taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).  Like any test, this is an important assessment of where a child is academically. Many students may experience anxiety and trepidation about the FCAT. It’s important that we, as parents, grandparents, relatives and members of a caring community reassure our children and put them at ease about the FCAT and any other test.

I want to offer a few suggestions on what we can do to help students succeed not only on the FCAT, but also in the classroom, all year long:

1.  Give students encouragement. Encouragement goes a long way in building a child’s confidence. Our children need to know that they are capable of achieving far beyond their imagination.

2.  Help students understand that testing is part of the instructional process.  They should not be fearful.

3.  Find out if there are activities that children can do at home or outside of the traditional classroom that can help them better understand their school work.

4.  Provide a quiet, comfortable place where children can study at home.

5.  Try not to place too much emphasis on test scores. Encourage children to do their very best, and love them regardless of the score they may receive on a test.

6.  Being on time and attending class every day are vitally important. Children must be in school in order to learn.

7.  Make sure children get plenty of rest the night before a school day, and especially the night before a test.

8.  Children need a well-rounded diet for energy and alertness throughout the day. Make sure they get a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast every morning. Free breakfast is offered at all Miami-Dade public schools every school day, Monday – Friday. 

Miami-Dade County public schools are fortunate to have teachers, principals, and assistant principals who work tirelessly to ensure that our students receive a superb, well-rounded education. But the level of success our children achieve in school as well as their safety and well-being are responsibilities we all share. No matter your connection to a child, be it as a parent, grandparent, pastor, school volunteer or simply a concerned and engaged member of the community, we all have a role to play, and we must do our part to inspire them to greatness.

Every child has the potential to achieve. Often, all they need is a little encouragement. Let’s be a community with one voice, encouraging our children to put forth their very best every day.

Wilbert “Tee” Holloway is a Miami-Dade School Board member.