Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Mary Beck students run through paper banners at the start of the ISTEP+ rally Friday, March 1, 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Kindergarten student Omanique Wilson blows bubbles during the Mary Beck ISTEP+ pep rally Friday, March 1, 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Mary Beck students run through paper banners at the start of the ISTEP+ rally Friday, March 1, 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

The Mary Beck ISTEP rapper, also know as assistant principal Jeff Komins, entertains the students during the ISTEP+ pep rally Friday, March 1, 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore talks to the Mary Beck student body during the ISTEP+ pep rally Friday, March 1, 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

The Mary Beck cheerleaders cheer during the school’s ISTEP+ rally Friday, March 1. 2013. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)
ISTEP+ testing starts Monday across the state

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 1, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

ELKHART — Schools might not usually welcome tests with a schoolwide celebration, but holding a pep rally before taking Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) is becoming a tradition for Elkhart’s Mary Beck Elementary.

School leaders’ goal is to not just to give the kids a good time, but to get them motivated and focused on the tests to come.

“The teachers feel the pressure and the kids feel the pressure, so we just want them to have fun today and relax,” said Jeff Komins, the school’s chief academic officer.

ISTEP+ measures student achievement according to the Indiana Academic Standards. The Indiana Department of Education uses students’ scores and growth in calculating the letter grades the state gives to schools each year.

Mayor Dick Moore and Principal Richard Mendez spoke to the students, encouraging them to be sure to get good sleep in preparation for the tests and enjoy a good breakfast at the school before testing Monday.

Students cheered through much of the event. Students taking ISTEP+, those in grade 3 through 6 at Beck, burst into the gym by running through paper banners representing their classrooms. The school’s cheerleaders also presented a few ISTEP+ cheers; Komins, taking on the character of “the ISTEP rapper,” sang a rap he wrote about ISTEP filled with advice for taking the tests.

“When I say ‘ISTEP,’ you say ‘pass,’” went Komins’ refrain.

The testing window for the applied skills portion of the test starts Monday. The testing window for the multiple choice section of ISTEP+ is April 29 to May 10. Third-grade students across Indiana will have the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination test (IREAD-3) test in between those two times. That testing window is from March 18 to March 20.