By RANDY TATANO
Special to Atmore News
This week, students from Escambia County’s three high schools will be off to boot camp.
Don’t worry, they won’t be marching in formation or getting up at 4 a.m.
It’s the ACT boot camp, three days of intensive training to help those taking the test improve their scores. It’s the first time Escambia County has embarked on this sort of training. The classes will be divided into two subjects: math and English language arts.
Escambia County High School Principal Kike Pettaway explained how the boot camp works. “We identified the students who will be participating in the boot camp based on their pre-ACT test which was taken by the students as sophomores. The students were divided into two groups. Each group will focus on the math and ELA portions of the ACT. Scott Hammond will facilitate the intervention and instruction on the math portion, while Teresa Hultz will facilitate the ELA portion during the camp.”
Pettaway says the preparation won’t stop with the boot camp.
“Additionally, the District has also implemented an ACT online prep program that teachers use daily to expose students to ACT practice questions during their morning bell ringers.”
In an education system where one addition point on a standardized test can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, between a scholarship and having to pay full tuition, extra preparation is crucial.
Superintendent Michele McClung says training before the test will show students what to expect. “Our students are excited to have the opportunity to learn more about test taking strategies. We want our students to be confident when taking the ACT and this boot camp will help students become familiar with the format of the test, which ultimately builds confidence.”
Finally, Pettaway adds that better ACT scores helps the overall standing of a school.
“Our mission this year is to increase the students’ ACT scores in math and ELA, which will have a great impact on the school’s overall report card grade.”
Brewton resident Randy Tatano is a veteran TV news reporter and network producer, and is currently a novelist and freelance writer for the Escambia County School System.