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61 pupils honored for test perfection

Niagara Falls school officials Thursday honored 61 elementary and preparatory school pupils for registering perfect scores last spring on state assessment tests, either in English language arts or mathematics.

Six of them aced both tests.

In front of the School Board, parents, peers and teachers, each child called to the stage of Niagara Falls High School Performing Arts Center received a sky-blue plaque for being perfect on the math assessment and a cherry-wood plaque for English language arts excellence.

Deputy Superintendent Cynthia A. Bianco, the administrator in charge of district instruction, said the pupils set a district record with so many perfect scores -- alost 60 percent above the 39 who registered perfect scores in 2006.

"I remember several years ago when they first started giving the assessments, we only had six children get perfect scores. Now we have 61, and several of them had perfect scores on both ELA and math, which I feel is really significant," Bianco said. "I think it shows our children are working hard and that parent involvement and our teacher training in the use of best practices in the classroom . . . are helping children learn and retain what they learn."

School Superintendent Carmen A. Granto said, "What it means to me is our teachers and parents are really working together to get our kids to achieve."

Granto's grandson, Robert A. Stevens, who attended third grade at Maple Avenue Elementary School last year, scored perfect on the math assessment.

Pupils who had perfect scores on both tests said they worked pretty hard to prepare.

"All I did was practice, practice, practice," said Taylor Donoughe, 9, a third-grader at the former 66th Street School last year. "Math and English are two of my favorite subjects."

Shannon Westoven, 10, a third-grader at Kalfas Magnet School last year, said, "I practiced for English by writing a lot of stories, and I practiced my multiplication tables and my division a lot."


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