Celebrating success on the CATS Exam

Celebrating success on the CATS Exam
By: Erica Byfield

Mayfield, KY - Students in all of our heartland states take standardized exams and every fall we find out how they stack up.  This year's results gave staff and students at Sedalia Elementary a reason to celebrate; they went from last to third in the district.
Beyond expectations is an understatement.  In 2005 students here earned a disappointing 83 on the CATS exam but in 2006 they jumped 22 points to 104.
 "We want the kids to be excited and to know what they're doing counts and are important," said newly appointed principal Robert Braden.
He and his staff dressed up in honor of their student's success as Elvis impersonators.
Last year the faculty challenged the children to a bet, if they improved at least 10 points they would throw them a rocking bash.
"It feels good to be apart of a school where the teachers care about kids and want to do well," said Braden. 
How did they do it?  Braden said they shifted their focus.  Aside from an intense spotlight on improving traditional classroom skills his teachers started lifting them up emotionally.
"We're focusing on kids and we're loving them we are building up their self esteem," he added. 
If the Elvis impersonations weren't enough, the school's recently retired principal  Mr. Kinsey showed up to follow through on his own promise, and kissed a pig. 
At the end of the day Principal Robert Braden had another surprise for the students, on the front lawn they let go 104 white balloons in honor of this year's improvement and a single red on to symbolize next years 105. 
Sedalia's score of 104 also boosted them in the rankings in both the region and state, where the students placed 4th and in the top 25th respectively.