Arizona Republic
April 13, 2007

Author: Ray Parker, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

Like most students in Chandler schools, kids at San Marcos Elementary in central Chandler have spent this week concentrating on testing for AIMS, Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards.

"We talked about how we felt about the test ... and I'd be proud if I got a good grade," said fourth-grader Alyssa Figueroa, 10.

With the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, San Marcos Principal Christine Sargent dressed up in pirate garb during morning announcements.

"Every year, I dress up and do something different to release the anxiety,"
Sargent said.

She emphasized test-taking strategies, getting plenty of sleep, good nutrition and attending school each day. For schools to meet the federal annual progress measure, 95 percent of students must take the test.

The federal law that ushered in the annual state testing, No Child Left Behind, is now up for renewal. Arizona and Virginia are battling the federal government over rules for testing children with limited English, a challenge for San Marcos Elementary educators, who deal with a high number of students whose primary language is not English.

Tom Horne, Arizona's superintendent of public instruction, has feuded with federal officials over a ruling that gives schools one year to teach immigrant students English before schools must give those students state tests, which under Arizona law must be given in English.

Chase Davis, 10, said during recess break, "I finished today after about 30 minutes."

CAPTION: 1. Chase Davis CAPTION: 2. Alyssa Figueroa
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Chandler Republic
Page: 6