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The ACT test is a big deal and not just for high school students planning to go to college.
Since 2008, the ACT is given to all juniors in Kentucky. How well a student does on the ACT determines senior-year classes, co-op opportunities, and “College and Career Readiness.”
All juniors in Kentucky took the ACT on Tuesday, March 5, but preparations to make it a special event began weeks ago.
Becky Boden, assessment coordinator/technology integration specialist for Grant County schools, took on the task of planning a special day for the juniors at Grant County High School, to make them aware of the importance of doing well on the ACT.
Students were visited by Billy Sarge, assistant admissions director at Thomas More College, on Feb. 20. He discussed the importance of each student trying their best on the test.
ACT Test Day began early for GCHS juniors. At 6:30 a.m. they were treated to breakfast with donations from Grant County Foods, Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Cracker Barrel.
Following the breakfast, the students boarded busses bound for Thomas More College, where they were able to take the test in a college setting.
Each junior at GCHS was “adopted” by a Grant County school district employee for the day. Teachers, bus drivers, food service workers, secretaries, assistants, custodians, coaches, etc. provided each student with a personal note of encouragement. The staff also paid for their adopted student’s lunch at TMC.
Andy Jones, a math teacher at GCHS, adopted Brittany Brock. Jones said he believed the personal connection with the students was meaningful.
“The kids came back glowing about how awesome the day was. The food, notes, being able to test off campus, then not having to worry about class work when they returned, brain drained from testing, all meant a lot more to the kids. I was happy to be part of it,” Jones said.
“The notes made it personal. Mr. Jonesí note reminded me it was a celebration of my knowledge. It was not just a test that reflected on the school, it was a reflection of me as well,” said Brock.
Some staff adopted students they didn’t know, while others adopted students they knew, even from elementary school.
Patty Nicholson, a second grade teacher at Dry Ridge Elementary, adopted Andy Engle, a student she taught years ago.
“My note let me know that even my teachers from elementary school still cared. I guess you never get too old for them to still care about you,” Engle said.
The DRE cafeteria staff each adopted a student.
“The whole idea was awesome,” said Diane Reed. “It let our students know that we are rooting for their success and reinforced the importance of the ACT.”
Kenneth Taylor, a U.S. history teacher at GCHS, knew he wanted to adopt Morgan Spann because of the positive student/-teacher relationship theyíve developed this school year.
“Morgan is a bright student with distinct career goals and she comes into my classroom and works very hard on her class work and assignments. Morgan and I joke with each other a great deal and she regularly says I am a ‘mean’ teacher and her ‘least favorite,’” Taylor said.
Taylor wrote a note to Spann and didnít know until later that she posted about him on Twitter.
Spann tweeted, ìI most definitely have the best teacher ever. Mr. Taylor adopted me for the ACT and wrote the best note Iíve ever gotten from a teacher.î
Taylor said Spannís words were some of the most gratifying of his career.
“In the day-to-day grind of an educator, one can get a little bogged down with all of the things that go into the profession. While my passion for teaching has never waned, seeing this post on that day made me feel extremely good about myself, my career choice and the impact I was having on the lives of some of the students that come into my classroom. The level of my appreciation for this little positive note cannot be put into words,” Taylor said.
Students can take the ACT up to 12 times, but the March 5 testing date is the only time it will be provided at no cost to the student.
The students spent the next three and a half hours taking timed exams in English, math, reading and science.
Students who do not score at or above the state and national benchmarks in these content areas with be required to take intervention classes during their senior year or have to take remedial classes in college, which cost the student, but donít count for college credit..
Benchmarks include: English (18); math (19); reading (20); and science.
Students who score well on the ACT are also eligible for scholarships.