Southwest students get help with ACT prep workshop
January 3, 2018
For the first year, Southwest High School offered a multi-day workshop helping students prepare for the ACT. The three-day event had 45 students focus on core areas as well as subjects that would improve confidence and concentration for test taking.
The school’s communication arts instructor Steve Voyak was the person behind the workshop. He came up with a plan after attending a conference that discussed formal ACT preparation options. He said, “I went to an Ozark 7 Conference workshop last year at Verona, and one of the sessions was coordinated by Wheaton teachers. Mr. Roller [Southwest High School principal] previously taught at Wheaton and was aware of their ACT workshop program. I went to Wheaton last year and observed their program and came back to Southwest with the ideas on how we could do something similar but make it our own.”
The idea came to fruition over the fall when students and teachers went to the First Baptist Church of Washburn for three days for sessions helping students prep as well as a practice test.
Southwest’s other communication arts instructor Linda Morgan said, “We are blessed to live in a community that is very supportive of our school. Arvest Bank, Freedom Bank and Security Bank excitedly stepped up to provide amazing lunches for our students. First Baptist Church of Washburn allowed us to use their activity center. Trojan PQ Mart donated cases of bottled water for our kids.”
With meals taken care of, students in grades ranging from sophomores to seniors focused on the sessions offered. Voyak said that a select few freshman were also able to attend.
Voyak said, “Sessions were either 45 or 20 minutes in length. The long sessions were in core areas (English, reading, science and math) and the mini sessions were on health, visualization, test-taking strategies and meditation and other subjects aimed at relaxation and confidence.”
In all, 12 teachers led the sessions and prepared using a variety of resources. When Voyak was asked how they prepared, he replied, “Videos, websites, academic research, ACT resources, test-taking strategies. In all, 12 teachers gave break-out sessions. Additionally, six teachers helped grade tests the day of the practice exam. Teachers and a counselor then talked with students about their scores and an action-plan for improvement.”
Voyak said the program will hopefully improve students’ confidence, preparation and scores for the ACT. Before this workshop, students prepared through help from individual teachers. He said, “Many teachers offer before and after school help in specific disciplines individually and in small groups.”
This is just the first of what Voyak hopes is many years of the ACT prep workshop at Southwest. The turn out for first workshop was a success, and hopefully it improves students’ performance.
Voyak said, “Originally, we had 61 sign up, but we ended up with 45 attending the three-day workshop. I was hoping for 50 students, and I think we will get that many in the future.”