WOHS to require SAT prep class

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Board of Education approved a plan to make an SAT prep class mandatory for all West Orange High School students at its Dec. 18 meeting. The class will be equivalent to 68 hours of SAT prep work and will replace the SAT Bootcamp program currently offered at WOHS. This class will be mandatory for all WOHS students, who will have the option of taking it in either 10th or 11th grade, and will be given in partnership with Kaplan SAT Prep.

“This course will allow our students exposure to the SAT exam, test-taking strategies and simulate test-taking conditions,” WOHS Principal Hayden Moore said in a presentation at the meeting. According to Moore, the class is intended to improve student achievement in SAT results and increase their comfort level with taking the test.

“By 2021, we want to achieve gains of 5 percent in math and 4 percent in language arts,” Moore said. At WOHS, 67 percent of students meet or exceed the benchmark score in language arts, lower than the state average of 71 percent, according to the New Jersey Department of Education. In math, 40 percent meet or exceed the benchmark, compared to 53 percent statewide.

The SAT course will be a class taken for a grade, however students who score a 550 or higher on the PSAT test will have the option to waive the class.

Ryan Del Guercio, the district’s technology and engineering supervisor and one of the administrators who formed the proposal for the course, said that the class will create more flexibility when students are making their high school schedules.

“Part of our proposal would be to no longer require the freshman seminar course for the class of 2022, which is our current eighth-graders,” Del Guercio said. “This would allow for more flexibility in their scheduling, especially with elective course.”

He also said that some of what was taught in the freshman seminar class, such as test-taking skills, will be taught in subject classes so that they can apply those skills to the class they are in.

“We are committed to increasing out student achievement when it comes to SATs,” Moore said at the meeting. “We want to expand our students’ opportunities and make sure there is equity and access for all.”