Who remembers standardized testing?

School was very quiet when I wandered over today. The reason – yearly standardized testing. In between, the students got breaks to engage in some fun projects. The art room had kids with watercolors and drawing pencils freelancing whatever they felt like drawing. In the Native American Studies classroom, the 8th graders were working on their graduation banner. The class of 2012 will feature a satin medicine wheel, and they were pinning the material in place before everyone, boys and girls alike, joined in to stitch the satin to the banner.

We’ve had great retention in the high school program this year – 38 of the 40 students who started the year are still with us. With some of our remodeling finishing up, we will be able to add another high school home in the fall, and increase our capacity for that age group to 50. Even so, we have more eighth grade applicants for the high school homes than we have beds. Several girls had to be put on the waiting list.

One of the 6th-8th grade homes made a proposal to keep the 8th grade girls where they are currently until another room opens up. A grandmother called me and was profoundly grateful that the granddaughter she is raising will be able to continue in the program.

I took some time with building projects today. I donned a hard hat and walked over to the Akta Lakota Museum to finalize a decision on the size of a wall.  Over the last couple of days we’ve gotten a couple of inches of wonderful, desperately needed, life-giving rain.  The down side was the moisture made the construction site a muddy mess. The souls of my shoes were two inches higher with mud when I walked back to the office. Also, we are in the process of purchasing the old grocery store downtown in order to expand our Thrift Store and give us much more storage space. We went over some plans and reports and took care of the needed paperwork.

After school, the track team members were on the football field running wind sprints. A couple of the shot putters lagged far behind the field. They rely on strength and not speed, though I tell them strong legs will help with both. The sun came out in the afternoon for a glorious 65 degree day, and soon the T-Ball and Softball fields were alive with activity and the friendly banter that characterizes a baseball game.