Test-review time

After a lengthy break from school, area high school students have at least one day to review and prepare for their end-of-course tests.
Students in Newton-Conover City Schools are scheduled to attend school Saturday with an early release time, and Monday and Tuesday are regular instruction days. David Stegall, NCCS associate superintendent, said those days will be used to review and prepare for students' EOC exams, which start Wednesday.
NCCS exams continue through Jan. 24. Stegall said state law requires students to have one day off, which is Jan. 25 for NCCS, between semesters. The system's second semester starts Jan. 26.
Catawba County Schools Public Information Officer Carleen Crawford said CCS students will start exams Tuesday and use Monday as a review day.
The end date for CCS' EOC testing varies, Crawford said, depending on schools and other testing situations.
All county school systems opted to make up one missed school day Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is a federal holiday.
A break between the Christmas holiday and testing is nothing new for students, who are mandated by state law to have their EOC tests after class resumes in the new year. Students saw an extended break this testing period, however, with CCS students out of school for five days. NCCS students were out for three days.
"I'm sure there are some concerns with the break," Stegall said.
Newton-Conover High School 11th-grader Jade Stewart said the break makes it harder for students to study.
"It's more crammed," she said. "We're trying to get more packed into one day."
Stewart reviewed her schoolwork during the break from school in an effort to prepare for EOC tests.
NCCS ninth-grader Abbey Hayes did, too.
"For math, there's a lot of formulas to remember," she said. "My mom made me go online and do practice things for English."
System officials, however, can't control the weather and want to minimize travel risks. Icy county roads made travel treacherous, and Crawford said the system can't risk safety of students, faculty and staff.
As the sound of melting ice was heard Friday throughout the county, standing water from melting snow poses additional traffic concerns for county motorists.
Newton Public Works Director Wilce Martin said Thursday that crews continue to monitor road conditions in the city. When crews find an icy patch in the roadway, they treat the patch and make it safe for motorists.
In Conover, Public Works crews finished clearing primary and secondary roads. Jimmy Clark, Public Works director, said Friday that crews are on standby as needed during the weekend.
Although major county roads are clear of snow, the possibility of black ice still lurks for drivers. According to the National Weather Service, low temperatures for the region this weekend are expected to hover in the upper-20s and lower-30s.
N.C Highway Patrol Lt. A.E. Eastwood advised anyone traveling on roads this weekend to reduce speed and use caution.
If drivers find themselves sliding, Eastwood recommended attempting to move the vehicles' right side tires on the shoulder in an attempt to gain traction.
If that's not possible, drivers shouldn't make sudden movements with the steering wheel and let the slide happen.
"Hitting the brakes is just going to make things worse," Eastwood said.