Thursday, April 20, 2006

Light's Out!

We are in the midst of our government mandated NCLB know, the big, monstrous, high-stakes tests that every single flipping thing revolves around in public education. It all comes down to four days where the kids, you hope, can actually show what they've learned over the year.

Of course, the kids don't necessarily care and still stay up past midnight talking to their friends on-line, don't bother to review, and basically rush through it so they can take a nap. The high point of their day is the fact that the PTO provides them with snacks (muffins were the big hit) every morning before the test. Nothing like free food to get a kid enthused.

That being said, today was the last day of Testing.

Or, it was supposed to be the last day of Testing.

We have had some wicked thunderstorms rumble through the past few days and this morning they started up around 4:00 am, spent a good hour and a half lightning, rumbling, hailing, and raining before they blasted through...but not before they managed to knock out power in most of the school.

The weird thing is that the oldest part of the building had power, which is lucky because we don't have windows. The office, and all three additions (it's a 40 year old building, after all) had no power at all. This was not good. Basically, in order to allow our proctors (the volunteer parents and anyone else we could talk into helping) to leave at 10:30 and not to interfere with the lunch schedule, we would have to have power by 8:30 at the latest in order to start and finish on time within the legal time limits.

No luck. Still no power by 8:30.

My team was pretty lucky, however, because we, at least, had power. And someone was looking over me the night before when I thought that it may not be a bad idea to toss some DVD's into my bag and take them to school to play during the down time we have when the test is over before we head back to normal schedule. So I plopped The Incredibles in and the kids sat and watched in relative quiet for a good hour and a half.

By 9:00 am they'd sent the proctors home (after begging them to come back on Friday) and the classes that were still in darkened rooms had relocated to the theater or the gym so they could keep the kids in some semblance of control.

After all, the last thing you want, is to be left in a darkened room with a bunch of hormonal middle schoolers.

And then it got even more interesting when the water stopped flowing (due to the lack of electricity to the pump system) and the kids were told the bathrooms were off limits.

However, finally we got power back to the entire building around 10:30 or so, and we continued on with our regular schedule. The kids, however, were completely wacked, proving the addage that anything you do to mess up their routine pretty much makes them crazy for the rest of the day. Give them half a chance and they'll be flinging condom-wrapped pickles throughout the hallways.

And so tomorrow, we hope, will be our last day of testing.

Except we have more severe thunderstorms predicted for tonight. Whooo-hooo!

Keep your fingers crossed folks!

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