“Opportunity Knocks” – Former MasteryPrep Student, Turned Instructor Opening Doors to College for High School Students

MasteryPrep Instructor Profile: Savanah Shows

“Because of you, I now have a bright future.”

–MasteryPrep Instructor/Facilitator Savanah Shows will never forget that e-mail she received from one of her students after he completed an SAT Mastery Course that Shows taught virtually for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Before the seven-week course, the student had e-mailed Shows admitting he was fearful of not being able to graduate and make his family proud. Not only did he graduate, he was able to achieve an SAT score that earned him a full-tuition college scholarship.

“There’s not much that can top that, at least in my eyes, and that’s a success story that will live with me forever and one that makes my job so incredibly rewarding. These students needed to receive a certain score on the SAT to be able to earn their high school diploma. This student was so dedicated, and he really shined so bright throughout the duration of my course because he was working his hardest each and every class session.”

The success story was a similar feeling five years prior that Shows herself had as a high school student when she completed a one-day MasteryPrep ACT Boot Camp, increased her ACT score six points from a 23 to 29, and therefore earned the opportunity to attend Mississippi State University on a full scholarship and receive her teaching degree. Shows became licensed to teach Math, English, and Social Studies, and all elementary grades. She was recognized as a Stephen D. Lee Scholar for receiving all A’s in her courses throughout her college career, and she was recognized as Mississippi’s Student Teacher of the Year.

Following graduation in November 2020, Shows’ experience with the MasteryPrep product inspired her to become a facilitator and instructor with the company in January 2021. Shows teaches a variety of test preparation courses to help students achieve mastery of content in relation to the SAT, ACT, and LEAP Geometry and Algebra exams. She teaches Boot Camps and courses online and travels the country to teach in-person events as well. Founded in 2012, MasteryPrep provides mastery-based college readiness services and resources to more than 2,000 schools and districts in 27 states. MasteryPrep is the preferred ACT and SAT partner for Council for Opportunity in Education. In 2020, MasteryPrep programs reached close to 400,000 students nationwide.

“I knew since I saw the success of taking that Boot Camp as a high school student that this was a program that everyone could benefit from, so I had to be a part of it. Since working for MasteryPrep, my belief has only been strengthened. I have taught these test prep resources to students who were on the verge of failing high school and to those who were in the highest-level math class high school has to offer at only 14 years old. Each group walked away feeling more confident and more prepared, and I think that is something that MasteryPrep offers that is extremely unique.”

“A Door of Opportunity I Could Never Have Imagined”

As a junior at West Jones High School in Laurel, Mississippi, Shows fit the common high school student mantra of always getting good grades and performing well in school courses but struggled to attain a high score on the standardized test. “I was really disappointed to see that my ACT score did not accurately reflect all of the hard work I had put in thus far throughout high school.”

Shows recalls a Saturday in 2016 when her mother signed her up for an ACT Boot Camp taught by MasteryPrep. “Like all teenage kids I did not want to sit there on a weekend for six hours and learn about the ACT, but that day changed my future and opened up a door of opportunity I could never have imagined.”

Two weeks after the course, Shows took the ACT, and improved her composite score six points from a 23 to a 29, including drastically improving her Math section score from a 19 to a 26. Shows reflected on her peers’ ACT scores demonstrating substantial jumps as well, following the MasteryPrep Boot Camp.

“The facilitator gave me the confidence that I lacked, along with several key explanations and strategies that made me feel like the ACT was approachable and very much “do-able. MasteryPrep works because it acknowledges, that yes, this test is hard, but it’s nothing that I can’t handle, and now, I have the resources to conquer this thing. Because of MasteryPrep, I was able to achieve my goals of becoming a teacher. I came out of college with zero student loans and a degree that allows me to give back to my community and empower young minds.”

Her ACT score, along with her grades, earned Shows a full scholarship to attend Mississippi State University, where she pursued her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In addition to her coursework, Shows gained field experience in teaching. She served as a mentor for The Brickfire Project, tutoring elementary and middle school children. She worked with a mentor teacher at Cook Elementary School, directing math centers and implementing lessons for all major subjects. She completed an internship for Fifth Street Junior High School, teaching English Language Arts, implementing lessons around the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards, gaining experience in virtual teaching in Zoom and Canvas, and learning to provide effective classroom strategies.

Accolades followed Shows throughout her college career as she earned Outstanding Intern Award, Mississippi Student Teacher of the Year, Stephen D. Lee Scholar, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, The Society of Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, MSU Academic Excellence Scholarship, Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant, and Student Success Scholar.

“There are so many reasons why I chose teaching as my profession. As a teacher, I have the privilege to shape the future generation of America by providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to make a positive contribution to society by building their self-esteem, teamwork skills, and problem-solving capabilities. I also have the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills while serving as a positive role model for students. Most importantly, I have a passion for making a difference in the lives of young learners. I chose to become a teacher so I can enhance the knowledge, confidence, and resilience of each student.”

“College-Readiness Curriculum Designed to Give Every Student an Opportunity”

Coming out of college with her teacher’s degree, Shows knew MasteryPrep was the perfect fit to launch her professional teaching career if given the opportunity. When Shows saw the opening for a facilitator/instructor position via LinkedIn, she knew her destination.

“Knowing from experience, MasteryPrep has developed college-readiness curriculum designed to give every student an opportunity to boost their standardized test scores and perform better in school. “We teach high school entry skills in English, Math, and Reading, from the ground up, so every student can graduate high school with a college-ready ACT or SAT score. Every student deserves to.”

Because the majority of underserved communities receive little to no test prep due to lack of financial resources, Shows said MasteryPrep courses and classes give these particular students hope. Ninety percent of low-income students graduate high school without a college-ready ACT or SAT score. Through local and federal partnerships, MasteryPrep has helped more than 500,000 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 made me recognize my worth. It has been proven to me time and time again when I go into schools that your mindset is half of the battle. So many students come in to these Boot Camps or Mastery courses believing that there is no hope for their future education because of what they have been told or the test scores they’ve received. By providing students with materials and content that meets them where they are and explores each segment of the test step by step, they leave with a newfound confidence that will stay with them for years to come.”

Shows teaches both online and in-person. In spring 2020, when schools were forced to close in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MasteryPrep reinvented its company’s offerings by expanding distance learning options, helping systems and schools provide engaging, effective instruction to students in distance learning. Study Hall is an online adaptive test prep program that uses a student’s testing data to chart the path of least resistance for them to increase their score. Snap is a microvideo course platform that allows students to watch up to 30-second instructor videos and answer questions, among other simulated activities. At its peak in 2020, MasteryPrep offered 100 classes a day in ACT and SAT prep. As schools have reopened, MasteryPrep facilitators and instructors have returned to in-person teaching as well, to supplement the online learning.

“I love building a relationship with students, whether it’s through a computer screen or in-person, and whether I’m with them for four hours or for four months, I will never forget a single student that I’ve interacted with and all of those unique characteristics that make them amazing. We have all had a teacher who has made a positive difference in our lives that extends far beyond the classroom, and I consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be that special teacher for my current and future students that I serve at MasteryPrep.”

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 in 27 states. In addition, MasteryPrep has helped more than 500,000 low-income students prepare for the ACT and SAT at no cost to students. 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 formerly selected among the “LSU 100: Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses.”  

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