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I.C. MURRELL — Is your child caught up academically? Free, end-of-year assessment available.

The month of May was always crunch time for me academically.

One of three things would happen: I would work pretty consistently and finish the school year strong, I would struggle and pick up the pace during the final weeks or I would fizzle down the stretch.

The latter only happened in one class, ever, and I never skipped class. Let’s just say that focus, or lack thereof, is a big factor.

Coming from a family of educators, reading was stressed heavily. I’m more of a periodical consumer than long-range novels, but classic literature and nonfiction can take a person into worlds he or she might not dream about writing. The vocabulary and scenarios we pick up from journals or books shape our daily interaction and communication skills, which help to make us more marketable in society.

Yes, kids, it’s that serious. So is learning. Not easy, but necessary.

But reading is all I had to worry about during time away from the classroom, that and a few camps here and there.

Children today are faced with a bigger task before summer break, and the confines of school are not available to help them.

This year’s high school and college graduates will be honored for finishing strong in an unusual school setting. Either home has brought every person the necessary peace for focus that can’t be found in school, or it’s been distracting.

And you thought (lack of) supervision was a big concern.

Coronavirus may have given parents an opportunity to track their children’s schoolwork much closer. For some, trying to remember lessons from their school days to help kids with homework has been a challenge.

The ultimate goal, however, is making sure the child stays on track of his or her education. That way, the entire family wins.

The Texas Education Agency has offered a pathway for parents to track student progress — a free, optional end-of-year assessment that even school districts may administer.

“The optional EOY assessment gives parents and educators access to a powerful tool that shows what their students have learned and where they can improve their knowledge and understanding of key subject matter heading into the 2020-21 academic year,” a statement from the TEA reads.

“Educators across Texas have voiced concerns that their students may not be making as much academic progress as they should because of the disruption caused by COVID-19,” it continues. “Researchers have noted that in some cases students could see significant academic declines, dubbing it a potential ‘COVID Slide.’”

Better thank a teacher if you haven’t already.

Registration for the end-of-year assessment is from now until June 5 and the tests can be given at home through June 12. The tests will be available online and in a printable PDF format. Students can access the tests through a web browser.

To register and gain more information on the end-of-year assessments, visit tea.texas.gov, click on the Student Assessment tab at top, find the Testing column to the left and click Student Assessment Overview.

Expectations are one thing, but meeting them is another. To any student who receives a diploma or degree this year, know that your accomplishment won’t be without obstacle, and you deserve every credit bestowed upon you.

You’re the class that set the example for how to handle adversity.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at ic.murrell@panews.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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