AUSTIN, Texas -- It is that time of year at schools across Texas.

  • Texas students undergoing STAAR testing
  • Former teacher prepares students for stress
  • Test can determine if students move 

“They get inundated with hearing about testing,” says former teacher Kellie Dowell. “We are always hearing STAAR this, STAAR testing, STAAR testing.”

Staar testing, often the focus, is now fully in the forefront.

Dowell, who taught for 25 years at schools like Mathews Elementary, says a premium is put on STAAR tests. Administrators and teachers alike are highly dependent on adequate scores.

“All of that pressure trickles down to the kids. We can’t kid ourselves,” she shrugs.

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She retired and started working with children on meditation, focusing and learning how to cope with potentially stressful situations.

“Mindfulness is simple. It is paying attention on purpose," she said. 

These tests are a prime example one of those situations.

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“They are being told, this is going to tell you whether you are going to go to fourth grade. And they hear, this is going to determine if I go to the next grade level, and that pressure builds on them," she said. 

Now, she is providing children supplemental tools for success.

“The breathing itself is the super power. So when I help them at the beginning of the year developing their super power, their breath, so now they think of it as a tool. They sit down they are using three breaths, and that’s what we practice.”

Hoping to make sure all they have learned can show through on their scores.