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Students get their just desserts

May 12, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Northern Middle School eighth-graders had a unique opportunity Friday to make sure Principal Valerie Novak got her recommended "lifetime" allowance of sugar.

Novak said she welcomed the opportunity to be pelted with pies ... not because she has a big sweet tooth but because she is so proud of her students.

"I challenged my eighth-graders to maintain at least 99 percent attendance the week of May 8-12 while they were taking the Maryland School Performance Program tests," Novak said. "And they did."

Attendance is vital during the testing periods, which were conducted for about two hours every morning during the week, Novak said. Any student absent on a test day is counted as a zero for that day and has a major effect on the school's total score.

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So Novak, who began as Northern Middle's principal in February, promised her students they could throw pies at her if they maintained near-perfect attendance.

"They took it very seriously and worked very hard," Novak said.

After all, she said, 99 percent attendance for just the eighth grade meant no more than two students could be absent.

The tests which have been mandatory in Washington County for grades three, five and eight since 1993 assess school performance. Scores come back by school, county and the whole state, Novak said.

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