Hayden Spring break comes as a welcome reprieve this week for children in the Hayden School District.
Some students in the elementary, middle and high schools have filled in bubbles, read short stories and answered math questions since mid-March as part of the Colorado Student Assessment Program.
School administrators said they were pleased with their students' performance on the CSAP tests.
Officials from the Colorado Department of Education use CSAP test scores to assess schools with ratings from excellent to unsatisfactory. Schools that fall in the bottom 2 percent must develop an improvement plan. If schools fail after three more years, the school district may have to form a charter school.
Freshmen and sophomores at Hayden High School took the CSAP tests from 8 a.m. to noon March 19-21.
"It went really well," Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer said. "There was a lot of testing, but there were not too many complaints."
All ninth- and 10th-graders in the state must take tests in reading, writing and math.
In return for their hard work, students got a chance to begin their spring break early. Students who finished all of their tests by March 21 went home at noon the next day. Those who do did not complete all the testing within the scheduled time frame must make it up under the supervision of a counselor.
The freshmen and sophomores got a little boost, too.
"We gave them snacks every day trying to stimulate them a little," Schafer said.
Tenth-graders took the math portion of the CSAP tests for the first time last spring.
Hayden Middle School students also completed CSAP tests March 21 after starting March 11.
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders usually took one 60-minute test a day, and no tests were given on Fridays.
Hayden Middle School Principal Colleen Poole said some makeup tests would be conducted the week after spring break.
Teachers at the middle school also rewarded their students for a job well done.
Popcorn and movies were offered Friday afternoon to give the youngsters a chance to relax before heading out the school doors.
"They've been performing so well, so we wanted to leave them on a positive note," Poole said.
Some of the district's youngest test takers opened up their CSAP booklets more than a month ago.
Third graders at Hayden Valley Elementary took their first test in the last week in February.
Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students take only one 50-minute test a day.
"The kids have been giving an absolutely fantastic effort," said Valley Elementary School Principal Mike Luppes. "They have a super attitude about it."
The school originally brought in snacks before test time, he said, to ensure that students, who might not otherwise get a good breakfast, have some food in their stomachs before picking up their pencils.
But now all of the students look forward to CSAP testing because that means they get a snack, Luppes said.
"It's been great for all the kids."