We’re all in this together! A testing ritual that unifies and heals

Across the nation the spring season ushers in warm weather, signs of the academic year ending and… testing time! Most of us don’t look forward to testing as much as the other two. In fact, standardized testing is known to cause anxiety. According to a study conducted by UCLA, between 40-60% of all students experience some form of anxiety before and during testing periods. It leaves both parents and educators asking the question, What can we do to ease the pressures of standardized testing? 

Deerwood Elementary School answers this question in a way that supports the students who are testing while building the unity and sense of contribution that are essential to a thriving School Family. Using Conscious Discipline concepts and principles, school social worker Ms. Abby Chmiel led a school-wide initiative to provide encouragement, supportive strategies and well wishes for grades 3-5 partaking in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) 

On testing day, the grade 3-5 students taking the test watched a video created by school administrators, teachers and fellow students. In the video, younger students contributed to the success of their School Family by offering helpful active calming tips, encouraging words and wish wells, while staff reaffirmed the Conscious Discipline Brain State Model and specific procedures that are helpful in moments when scared or anxious feelings might arise. The messaging included these testing essentials: 

  1. Sometimes we all have big feelings. You can handle it and the Feeling Buddies can help! 
  1. Being a S.T.A.R. (Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax!) three times helps us move to the higher centers of the brain when we feel anxious, sad, scared or another big feeling. 
  1. Reassuring self-talk (“I’m safe. Keep breathing. I can handle this.”) also helps us move to the higher centers so we feel calm and ready to give the test our best!  

Way to go Deerwood Elementary!  

And for all the students and educators entering your own testing season, we wish you well. 

MCA Wish Well 2023 


Does your School Family have something to celebrate? Share your Conscious Discipline story with us!