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Bostian Elementary cookout celebrates success on annual testing

CHINA GROVE — Parents, staff and students at Bostian Elementary School celebrated its “exceeding growth” status with a cookout on school grounds Wednesday.

Students lined up to get hamburgers from cafeteria workers at the grill. Afterward, they enjoyed ice cream cones from the Mr. Cone ice cream truck.

“Yes, I know why,” said fifth-grader Colson Pless. “We are celebrating because we had the highest test scores in the whole county. It’s very cool.”

Colson took end-of-grade testing last spring.

“I was a little nervous, but I thought I could do it so I just kept going. I took my time and thought about each question carefully.”

He credits others for his success, as well.

“Teachers helped a lot, and we had encouragement and inspiration from our parents.”

Parents brought camping chairs for themselves and towels or blankets for the students to picnic on. More than half the students had one or both parents present.

“We worked hard to get the word out,” Principal Lisa Sigmon said, noting the staff used ConnectEd, a software that calls students’ homes as well as connects on social media. “Also in the car line, I reminded parents.”

Gracie Bloom, a fifth-grader, remembered EOG testing last spring.

“It’s kind of scary because you don’t know what is going to be on the test,” Gracie said.

Sophie Horner, also a fifth-grader, chimed in. “It was weird because some would finish early, and it made me stressed out and sweaty. When I finished, I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Hailey Moose participated in the after-school test preparation sessions.

“After school was fun. They had I-Pads and things to do,” Hailey said. “The people told us what to expect, so it helped me not be nervous.”

Principal Sigmon credits the after-school sessions for some of the school’s success.

“We had an after-school program last January through May to help students prepare. Students attended anywhere from 13 to 40 sessions,” she said. “We did not have funding for this program, but teachers at all levels stayed and helped with the program. These kids got to go to the China Grove splash pad after testing last year.”

The celebration picnic was Sigmon’s idea.

“For the students, it’s just a chance to cut loose a little bit and spend time celebrating with each other,” she said. “They will be with all the classes. We have dancing, an ice cream truck, and it’s a whole hour vs. a half hour.”

“This is important because our students work very hard all year long. We have high expectations for them. This is our opportunity to celebrate their achievement,” Sigmon continued. “We are a family environment at Bostian: the teachers working, the students learning, and the families supporting. So we have invited everyone to come celebrate.”

PTA President Stacey McLemore echoed the concept of family at Bostian.

“We are extremely proud or our school’s academic success,” McLemore said. “My fifth-grader performed her best last year. Aubrey participated in the program, and it helped both her confidence and test taking skills. I think it relieved some anxiety.”

“In addition to my two girls attending Bostian, I went to school here, and my parents went here as well,” McLemore continued. “This school is a huge family. Always has been. I’ve been on PTA for eight years, and when I walk in, I feel like I’m at home. It’s a little sad. Next year for the first time in eight years, I won’t be coming here.”



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