Last week our students in grades 3 – 8 were engaged heavily in the taking of their Ohio Achievement Assessments. The Ohio Reading and Mathematics Achievement Assessments are annual tests that measure how well students have learned the reading and math concepts taught in grades 3–8. The Ohio Science Assessments are annual tests provided to students in grades 5 and 8. Often these tests are referred to as “high stakes” tests because the results of these tests are used to measure, student, teacher, school and school district performance.
Often during these exams our students will suck on mints. It is rumored that mints help you when taking a test by causing your senses to be heightened and thus keeping your brain alert. The research on this practice is fuzzy, but most of our folks chalk it up to the “if it helps one student, or if a student thinks it helps….it can’t hurt.”
At Kilbourne Middle School last week, that premise was challenged. During the 8th grade Science Achievement Assessment a KMS student began to choke on a mint. Kilbourne Middle School Math/Science teacher Mr. Ed Repko was proctoring the exam and while circulating around the classroom Ed noticed the student was choking. Alertly and without panic, Ed stood the student up and performed a textbook Heimlich maneuver on the student. The maneuver dislodged the mint and allowed the student to breath. After calling for the school nurse to check on the student, without any fanfare or seeking of recognition, Mr. Repko went back to proctoring the exam so the 8th grade students would have no disruption to their testing window.
The student was checked over by the school nurse and by a doctor (to make certain there was no internal damage). Although a bit shaken up, the student elected to return to school to finish the school day. Luckily he had completed his Science OAA before the incident occurred.
In Worthington all school employees are trained on the Heimlich maneuver using a digital trainer called Public School Works. Our school nurses also spend time working with staff to make certain they are comfortable performing the maneuver should they need to. This is not the first time someone has choked in a Worthington school and not the first time the Heimlich has been performed. However, let’s not downplay the event. Ed potentially saved the life of a student and did so in such a calm and collected way that his OAA testing continued.
Worthington has great, great teachers. They are called upon to help all students achieve the Ohio standards, to build positive relationships with students, to effectively supervise and manage student behavior, and sometimes to perform an act of safety that will save a student’s life. Last week Ed Repko did just that.
If you’d like to tell Ed how much we appreciate his service you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll downplay his role. I won’t. I’m thankful last week that Ed was the teacher in the classroom. He’s a difference maker!
p.s. I searched and searched the internet for a picture of Ed to include in this blog. He apparently has wiped his identity clear from Google. If you have a picture of Ed I could add to this post, please send it my way.