Perspectives 03-21-19

MCA Testing Approaches- Helping Your Child Prepare for the State Tests


Whether you’ve been out of school for five years or 15, the thought of taking a test still makes some people’s hearts race. Now imagine what it’s like for your child. As a parent or guardian, you can help.



Get them fed. The more nutritiously your children eat, the better they will do in school. Properly fueled and with stable blood sugar levels, their concentration is enhanced. Always give them a healthy breakfast while cutting back on high-sugar cereals, pastries, and undiluted juices (which can have the same sugar content as sodas.) Most kids are ravenous after school, so before they settle down to do school work, provide a healthful, non-junk food snack to carry them through to dinner.


Get them moving. Tests cause stress, but, sports, exercise, and dancing can relieve it. Physical activity that gets students completely away from academics for a few hours each day can actually help them perform better on tests.


Get them breathing. Teach your kids a simple breathing exercise that you’ll do with them once or twice a day and in times of stress (as in right before a test): Take a deep breath, hold to the count of three, then exhale slowly through the nose to the count of 10.


Get them to bed on time. Elementary school children need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to do their best in school. They also need to curtail the excitement from video games, television, movies, and texting for at least 30 minutes before sleep.



Practice their confidence. Ask the 3rd-5th grade teachers if there are practice tests on the iPad your child can work on at home before the big days of MCAs.


Put piecework into action. Pre-exam cramming does not work. In fact, four 15-minute periods of study are actually superior to one continuous hour when it comes to memory retention. Therefore, see to it that your child preps for tests in small bursts, in some small way, every day.


Unplug already. When it comes to distracting videos, television, telephones, or social media (basically anything with a screen or speakers that’s not directly related to school work), study time is the time to turn the devices off .



Offer super support. As much as you value good exam grades, it’s more important that kids understand that your love and respect for them is not dependent on their test scores.


Review results together. MCA results don’t get sent to families until late August. Once the graded exam comes back, sit with your child and review what went right, what didn’t, and how to do better next time. This is not the time for you to lecture. Subtly prompted, your child should do most of the talking.


From RP 31:8 Report to Parents, written to serve elementary and middle-level principals, may be reproduced by National Association of Elementary School Principals members without permission. It can be posted to school websites, blogs, or sent via email.

Congrats to Horace Mann Speller One of Horace Mann’s 5th graders made it to the state spelling bee. On March 19, he competed against 49 fourth-eighth grade students, including three from Saint Paul. He made it through 2 rounds of the competition before the word “homburg” /ˈhämbərɡ/. What a great accomplishment!


Think Spring!  The Horace Mann PTA Plant Sale is here! The Plant Sale is a fantastic opportunity for school families, neighbors and friends to contribute to the many wonderful PTA programs that support our school and teachers.  Plus your order is delivered directly to school!


ORDER ONLINE!  Please visit to place your order.  You can see full color photos of each plant or basket, specifics on each plant and pay by credit card.


Please forward the website link to friends, neighbors & family and ask them to support our school! Online orders are due Wednesday, April 10th.  Plant delivery date is Thursday, May 16th. Please contact Anne Pavlis ( with any questions…thank you!


Revival of Chess Club Sought Did you know that Horace Mann School had a chess club for many years? It used to meet in the morning before school. The club was led by staff members and then by parents. Students learned the game and then had the opportunity to play each other. There were usually one or two tournaments outside of school.


We are seeking a volunteer coach to help us revive the club. We have a volunteer from a local university who is interested in helping. Please email if you are interested or if you have questions about the club.


Jump Rope for Heart Begins This month students in grades 1-5 will participate in the annual Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser.


Jump Rope for Heart is a voluntary service program that has become an annual event for our students, with thousands of other schools and millions of kids participating across the USA every year. The program has raised more than $1.2 billion since its start in 1978. Since 2011, students at Horace Mann have raised $48,615, including $8,232 last year alone.


Jump Rope for Heart is designed with four simple goals:

  1. Get kids active (by having them jump rope).
  2. Educate kids about their hearts, and heart-healthy habits.
  3. Raise money for cardiovascular research and outreach programs.
  4. Teach kids the value of community service.


Students may fundraise by asking friends and family for donations that will be sent to the American Heart Association (to support research and education programs).


This past week students were given their donation envelopes which contain information about Jump Rope for Heart. We strongly encourage using the online donation feature. It really makes the process easier. If you do write a check, please make it out to the American Heart Association. We discourage cash, but if necessary, we will ask our PTA to help us write a check for cash donations. Envelopes are due to Mr. Castillo by Friday, March 29.


Please refer any questions to Mr. Castillo.  


DQ Celebrates Free Cone Day Not only get a free cone, but check out this article featuring one of Horace Mann’s own students.


Follow Horace Mann School on Social Media

Important School Dates Bookmark our school calendar and check it frequently. You can go to and click calendar or use the direct link,


Friday, March 22

  • No School - Spring Conferences

Monday, March 25

  • 3:00-4:45pm EDL

Tuesday, March 26

  • 9:00-10:30am Gr 2-3 Music Concert Rehearsal
  • 1:30-2:30pm Gr 5 Minnesota State Survey
  • 3:00-4:10pm Winter Community Education Classes

Wednesday, March 27

  • 9:15-11:30am Gr 3 Field Trip to Steppingstone Theatre
  • 1:30pm Gr 2-3 Music Concert for the School
  • 3:00-4:45pm EDL
  • 6:30pm Gr 2-3 Music Concert for Families

Thursday, March 28

  • 8:30am-1:30pm Gr 5 Puberty Presentation by Family Tree Clinic
  • 9:30-11:30am Brunelle & Jalonack’s Class Field Trip to MIA
  • 3:00-4:10pm Winter Community Education Classes

Friday, March 29

  • All-School Movie Celebration

Monday, April 1-Friday, April 5

  • No School - Spring Break


Perspective submissions are due by 7:30am on Thursdays. Submissions after 7:30am will be included in the next edition.