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Schools Create Music Videos to Motivate Students for STAAR

March 28, 2016

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Rennell Elementary School students watch the premiere of the STAAR-themed music video, “Hello STAAR,” on March 24 in the school cafeteria. The music video was created by Rennell staff to motivate students as they prepare for this week’s STAAR tests.

March 28, 2016—Staff members at three CFISD elementary schools have created humorous music videos to help motivate and encourage their students for the 2016 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests, which begin on March 29.

Staff at Ault Elementary School, whose “Let It Go” STAAR parody video from 2014 generated more than 250,000 views, released their third straight video this year, a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” called “Test Skills.”

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Ault Elementary School Assistant Principal Meredith Akers performs on the “Test Skills” video that Ault staff members created to inspire students to do their best on the STAAR tests that kick off this week.

“We were brainstorming a possible song to use and I was in the car listening to Kidz Bop radio,” said Meredith Akers, Ault assistant principal. “A commercial came on with ‘Bad Blood,’ and it started,You know we got problems, We know how to solve them, and I said, ‘Hey this could be good.’”

A few staff penned STAAR-themed lyrics, and Akers recorded the vocals the week before spring break. The administrative team recorded the choreography and lip syncing on March 10, and Akers edited the video over spring break.

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Ault Counselor Elisa Beimgraben and fourth-grade student Kylie Morris act out a scene on the “Test Skills” STAAR video.

“It makes light of something that can be a stressor for people. It’s become an Ault tradition and the kids look forward to it,” Akers said. “We hope it gets them to laugh and hear our message that we believe in them and think they have the skills to do their best.”

Rennell Elementary School created its first STAAR video in 2016, a parody of Adele’s hit single “Hello” called “Hello STAAR.”

“‘Hello’ was so popular and I thought it would be unexpected because most everybody will probably pick something more upbeat,” said Leslie Thomas, Rennell principal. “The fun thing would be that everyone will wear eyelashes in the video, including the guys. And that’s where it started.”

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Donna Guthrie, assistant superintendent of elementary administration (far left),and Roy Garcia, associate superintendent of school administration and leadership development (far right), congratulate Rennell Principal Leslie Thomas (second from left) and recording artist Shannon Perry (third from left) after the premiere of the “Hello STAAR” video on March 24.

Teacher Sherry Johnson wrote the lyrics, and music teacher Kristi Shepherd recorded the footage. The vocals were recorded by Shannon Perry, a former counselor at Reed Elementary School and current recording artist. Shepherd’s husband, Paul, edited the video, which featured every Rennell staff member.

“Part of the reason why we had every single person on the staff in the video is we wanted the students to know the entire school is behind them,” Thomas said. “We’re all cheering them on to do their best.”

Rennell staff premiered the video for the entire student body on March 24, and students erupted in cheers.

“That felt so good,” Thomas said. “That was like, we’ve hit the mark. We’ve shown the kids we support them and they love their teachers. The video wasn’t just fun for us, it was fun for the kids.”

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Pope Elementary School administrative team members show off their dance moves on the “Watch Me” video to motivate students for the STAAR tests.

The fourth-grade team at Pope Elementary School created a STAAR video for the second straight year, blending both “Hello” and Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” in a video called “Watch Me.”

Fourth-grade teachers Ashley Borak, Jennifer Lopez, Brandy Breaux, Ericka Good, Brandi Rios, Marci Glasson, Jennifer Valladares, Courtney Bennett and Stephanie Tippit collaborated on the recording, and music teacher Elaine Waier edited the vocals and video together for the final product. Other Pope staff who interact with fourth-grade students throughout the instructional day were also included in the video.

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The Pope fourth-grade team performs a scene for the “Watch Me” video that was shown to students at a STAAR pep rally on March 28. 

Pope held a STAAR pep rally on March 28 to introduce the video to students.

“We want them to know we’re proud of the job they’ve done thus far, and we support them and we’re alongside them. We’re running this race with them,” Tippit said. “The outcome of all of this is making them smile and believing in themselves.”

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