PTSO sponsors standardized test preparation services

The Newtonite

by Maxwell Kozlov

This year, the PTSO‘s Educational Excellence Campaign (EdEx) co-chairs Susan Cassidy, Benita Danzing and Mary Beth DeNucci provided juniors and seniors with free access to PrepMe, an online SAT and ACT preparation service.

Students can use this service through their Naviance accounts, which provide them with useful college information.

Guidance department chair Beth Swederskas said, “We hope that by providing a free test resource, all students can access it and benefit from its lessons.

“As a result, students should hopefully do well or better on SAT and ACT tests for college admission.”

EdEx is calling this year’s project Tools for the Interactive Classroom. In addition to providing students with the test preparation, some of the project’s other goals include installing table computers and introducing student response systems to classrooms. These clickers collect anonymous feedback and opinions from classes and provide interactive test preparation for the SAT and ACT.

In total, the project has received $130,000 from this school’s community, according to former co-chair Marion Golin. EdEx has helped raise funds for tools, technology and resources in order to meet the changing requirements of a modern high school.

According to Danzing, parents are key contributors and the Northside Dining Adventure also lends support to the campaign.

She said that each school year since EdEx’s launch in 2007, principal Jennifer Price and this school’s faculty have generated new project ideas for EdEx that work toward the goal of “creating an up-to-date, diverse and stimulating curriculum and environment for every student here,” she said.

For example, in 2008, EdEx helped fund the interactive whiteboards that are now in most classrooms.

In 2009, it purchased equipment for biology students to complete a biotechnology lab, it provided the funds necessary to train about 25 team facilitators and it funded three computer labs as well as new laptops for the Library Learning Commons.

When the new building was completed in 2010, EdEx helped make the Learning Commons a student-centered and vibrant open-studio environment, according to Danzing.

And in 2011, EdEx assisted in funding the Innovation Lab, which Danzing said students designed as an open and active design studio. It includes 3D printing and rapid prototyping development, that will advance students’ work in a variety of curriculum programs, such as engineering, robotics, greengineering, drafting, visual design and physics.

Danzing also noted that various ideas are currently being considered for the 2013 campaign, and its focus will be announced in early 2013.

In the future, “the project that is funded will be far reaching, groundbreaking and continue to ensure that this school is a premier high school in Massachusetts and the nation,” said Danzing, “In addition, our goal is to publicize Ed Ex’s mission and accomplishments to more and more parents at North.”