My Son Killed it On State Assessments – Let Me Tell You Why…

Yep, that’s right. I’m going to brag for a minute.

My 11-year old son, Tate, scored “Masters” on all 3 of the state assessments he took this past year – during the 2020/2021 school year. In Texas talk, that’s the highest level. That’s an improvement over his scores from the previous year! Now, as much as I would love to tell you that he is Gifted and Talented and super smart academically and LOVES to read and studies for fun…none of that is true. But let me tell you why I think he did so well:

  1. His teachers did a tremendous job of building a relationship with him.

While I do think that his school and teachers did a great job of keeping things as “normal” as possible (shout out to Asa Low Intermediate in Mansfield ISD!), the instructional strategies and rigor definitely suffered, through no fault of anyone, especially through the first half of the year. But what they never let up on was a relationship, which started the first day of virtual 5th grade. Tate did go on-campus when the campus opened up, and we were blessed that there were very few interruptions. But his teachers loved him, got to know him, and cared well for him. Because of this, they also had high expectations for him, and after a few hurdles, he met those expectations.

I’m so thankful for this group of 5th grade teachers. Tate is an energetic, center-of-attention, sports loving kid. He’s kind and friendly, but I know that he’s also all over the place sometimes. His teachers put that relationship first, and I know it had a direct correlation to the learning. You see, when the child knows that the teacher is for him and not against him, he’ll buckle down when it’s time. When the child knows that the teacher sees his or her potential, and won’t let the student just slide under the radar, the child will rise to meet expectations. When the child feels wanted and understood at school, it lowers their affective filter, and allows their brains to open up to learning. That’s what Tate’s teachers did well. When chaos was right outside the classroom door, and the teachers themselves were overwhelmed and stressed, they made their classrooms a place where the students felt welcomed, and not as though they were a burden. When Tate struggled, he felt like he could get help without judgment, but they didn’t let up on the learning because of COVID. Sure, they went easy on make-up work and homework and absences, and things such as that, but they still pushed him to think!

And they celebrated the students well! The students knew they were going to have to work hard, but they knew that work would be celebrated. Tate looked forward to that, and it kept him in check!

2.) His mom makes him read. A lot. And still reads to him.

Yep, I’m going to take a little bit of credit for this one. Ha! My kid reads! Consistently! Even when he doesn’t want to (and he never wants to!)! He read when he was home virtually. He reads during the summer. He read during “Snowpocalypse” as we affectionally called our February storm. And we still read together every.single.night.- which typically ends up being me reading to him for a majority of that time, and that’s just fine with me. Because he is such a good reader, he is able to comprehend content across disciplines easier and quicker and pick up on new vocabulary. I know you, as educators, know this, but we have got to make literacy a priority in all schools and with all students. Students need access to books they like, and they need the accountablity for reading them. We are going to focus more on literacy over the next few weeks, but reading is power. Reading is success. Reading is power. Reading is freedom. And reading will make students more successful across all disciplines.

If you have kids at home this summer, make them read! If you are an educator, never underestimate the power of a positive relationship with students. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that will weather storms.

From the bottom of my heart, as a mom, thank you to all of the educators who provided that safe place for students to learn this past year. You are noticed!

For more information on culturally responsive resources, visit! We’d love to partner up with your amazing teachers to make the 2021-2022 the best school year yet!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: