When a group of Elkhart Memorial High School teachers were thinking up ways to show their support for students in this month's End of Course Assessments (ECA), they didn't want to do the same old thing – they wanted to be creative and really amp their students up for the tests.
Enter: A rap video.
Michael Henderson, an English teacher for sophomores who has been rapping since he was 12, was the driving force behind the project. A few teachers approached him with the idea earlier this year.
"At first I was hesitant, but it turned out great," Henderson said. "We just wanted to do something that would catch students' attention and kind of hit home with them."
Brandon Miller and Adam Meyers, history teachers who occasionally rap for fun in their classes, were featured in the video, as well as English teacher Eileen Corson, technology specialist Eugene McGregor, math department director Alex Holtz, English teacher Katie Lane and study hall director Mike Johnson.
Each of the educators wrote his own lyrics for the song, Henderson said.
"We actually went to the studio to record it, and they knocked it out on the first take," Henderson said. "I was really impressed."
The ECAs, the state tests that replaced ISTEP a few years ago, are taken by freshman and sophomore students and begin on May 19.
"It's a big deal," Henderson said. "It's a big test. They need to pass it to graduate."
Henderson said he and the other teachers hope the video will encourage their students and show them how much their educators care.
"I hope they just see how much we're behind them and support them," Henderson said. "We're not afraid to have fun and make fools of ourselves if it helps them. We just hope it sort of galvanizes them and helps them get locked in for the tests they're taking. We want to show them how much we believe in them and how much we support them. There's no limit to that."