Texas High School Administrator Implements MasteryPrep’s “The College Playbook” to Guide Students Through the College Admissions Process
High school football is big in Longview, Texas. That is why Carla Williams uses football lingo to aptly name her college admissions and standardized test prep sessions offered by the Longview Independent School District.
This past spring, Longview ISD purchased the MasteryPrep CCMR (College, Career, and Military Readiness) curriculum program, including The College Playbook, and Williams has begun implementing the program’s tools and resources to help high school students.
The College Playbook
MasteryPrep’s The College Playbook, written by college admissions expert Lucas Spielfogel, helps set up a student’s high school years
for college success. It includes valuable lessons and advice on what colleges really want to see in applications, everything students need to know about standardized tests (including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, among others), how to compare exact costs among colleges, how to understand financial aid awards, tips on writing personal statements, and how time management, setting goals, and creating healthy habits can make the most out of high school careers.
At Longview ISD, the “Learn the Plays; Win the Game” session was offered in spring for students and parents. They learned about the appropriate journey of the college applications process and when students should prepare for the SAT and ACT. Virtual summer sessions are also being held, and in the fall, more sessions will be held after school, including in October, “The Pregame Before a Major Football Game”. In the 2021-22 school year, freshmen will start working on their resumés and update them each year to have them ready to submit along with their applications in their senior year, and juniors will be introduced to essay writing. “The College Playbook is perfect in that it educates both parents and students as to what students need to do to be on the right path for success during their freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years; you just can’t wait until your senior year, applying for college is a process,” Williams said. “You have to do something each year. The college application process can be intimidating and overwhelming, so our students need game plans.”
ACT Resources Implemented into High School Classes
MasteryPrep’s ACT resources will be implemented into Longview ISD’s school curriculum this fall. For example, after equations are taught in an Algebra II class, students will be given practice ACT equation problems, punctuation lessons in English classes will be followed by sample ACT punctuation and grammar questions, and History classes will also feature sample ACT reading passages. “We needed our curriculum attached to the ACT resources, so it is all unified together and so that we are proactively teaching ACT questions and skills to our students,” Williams said. “We are also training our teachers on how to implement these ACT resources into their classes.”
Longview ISD offers the esteemed International Baccalaureate Programme, with an increasing number of National Merit and GLOBE scholars graduating each year. The district leads East Texas in state TEA distinctions and dual credit college hours earned each year, graduating more students to prestigious universities than any other district in the region.
Williams was introduced to MasteryPrep’s resources when she was in graduate school in Arkansas working on a project studying “at-risk kids” and the test prep solutions they needed to help them attend college. MasteryPrep was founded in 2012 on the principle that every student can graduate high school with a college-ready ACT or SAT score; every student deserves access to that opportunity.
MasteryPrep’s curricula is founded upon deep research into standardized tests and student performance, including more than 15,000 actual ACT and SAT test items, hundreds of ACT and SAT standards and content dimensions, 50 million student responses to ACT and SAT questions, thousands of pages of test prep practices from across the industry, and decades of education research papers and best practices. “What sold me about MasteryPrep is the attention to detail to teach the academic skills associated with tackling standardized test questions and the programs that assess which skills students need to work on throughout the course to improve their scores,” Williams said.
About MasteryPrep: Founded in 2012, Baton Rouge-based MasteryPrep provides mastery-based college readiness services and resources, such as for the ACT and SAT, to more than 2,000 schools and districts nationwide. In addition, MasteryPrep has helped more than 1 million low-income students prepare for the ACT and SAT at no cost to the student. Nationally, MasteryPrep is the preferred ACT and SAT prep provider of the Council for Opportunity in Education, expanding college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico. MasteryPrep is ranked among the Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Companies”; featured by “Entrepreneur 360”; and selected among the “Growth Leaders” by Louisiana Economic Development for two years in a row.
About The College Playbook: The College Playbook is the comprehensive guide to college admissions that sets up a student’s high school years for college success. The College Playbook was written by college admissions expert Lucas Spielfogel. As a Teach for America-South Louisiana corps member, Spielfogel taught social studies at Baker Middle School and was named Teacher of the Year in each of his two years. In July 2012, Spielfogel became the Executive Director Designate of the Baton Rouge Coalition (BRYC), an organization preparing high-achieving, under-resourced high school students to enter, excel in, and graduate from college so they can become full participants in society. He was named Executive Director in January 2013, and BRYC has since quadrupled in size under his leadership. BRYC supports annually 250 high school students and nearly 400 college students and graduates.
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