California’s standardized tests are a taxing experience for everyone involved, so Nogales High School in La Puente is rewarding students who were on time and present every day of the exams with a middle-of-the-school-day carnival today.
On tap are a free barbecue lunch, an appearance by Latin hip-hop artist Malverde, elephant rides, game booths, a Bounce House and 70-foot, state-of-the-art driving simulator.
The reward for teachers is more dubious: They are the key component in the dunk tank ($1 for two balls, with proceeds going to the teacher’s favorite campus club).
Nogales Principal Nancy Padilla wanted an incentive last year to get more students in their seats and thought of the elephant ride. This year, with expanded activities, there was more buzz and even greater student participation during the seven days of exams, which ended April 30 for ninth- to 11th-graders.
“Every kid has to make up every test they’re absent for, which is logistically a nightmare,” Padilla said. “So the more perfect attendance we have, the more it facilitates our ability to make sure testing is complete.”
Seniors in good standing are also invited to the carnival, and the only question is what the school will come up with next year: perhaps a mechanical bull to keep the elephant company?
-- Carla Rivera