By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
When counselor Julia Narrell was at Memorial Middle School, she remembered a large distraction that would happen at about this time every year, like clockwork.
"The carnival would come," Narrell said. "All the kids would want to watch it. Teachers would have to draw the blinds."
That problem could be an issue for ninth- and 10th-grade students at the Memorial building this year. But every student in school will face plenty of other distracters brought about by the home stretch of school.
Now that spring break and Easter holidays have passed, this is it. No more breaks until school ends in about a month. Minds start to turn to the upcoming summer break.
"There's a heightened sense of awareness," said Narrell, now counselor at South Middle School.
"There's end of year activities such as the talent show and yearbook signing."
On the other side of the coin: Narrell said that referrals go up near the end of the school year.
This is the time of the year where parents should help their kids stay on track and finish the year strong, Narrell said.
The delaying of a key spring test will help parents and teachers do just that. The window for testing under the Missouri Assessment Program has been pushed back Ñ Joplin's testing begins during the last week of April.
When that occurs, teachers will ask parents to ensure that their children are ready for a long day of testing, Narrell said. Make sure that students get a good night's sleep and a good breakfast before school
Though MAP testing takes center stage near the end of the school year, Narrell said this is the time of year when carefully planned and executed routines start to slip.
"This is the time when kids can fall," Narrell said. "Our eighth graders have already enrolled for ninth grade, so they have something like senioritis setting in."
Parents should revisit the plans they made at the beginning of the school year and kept up through the first few quarters: