Method Test Prep Spotlight seeks to highlight MTP clients, friends, and acquaintances who are doing amazing things in education. For each installment of the Spotlight, we will select a dedicated individual or organization to profile, and will then interview the awardee to share their story. Through the Spotlight, we hope to develop a bank of successful experiences and practices for other schools and educators to learn from.
In this MTP Spotlight, we focus on two outstanding educators at Greenville HS in Greenville, Alabama. English Department Chair and 2021 Teacher of the Year Naomi Pryor—a fifteen-year GHS veteran—and her colleague Andy Brown—currently in his fifth year at GHS—have been using Method Test Prep as a tool for providing top-quality ACT prep to their 11th grade English students for almost four years. At the February 2021 virtual Alabama/Mississippi ACT Conference, the two presented Daily ACT English/Reading Practice in the Title I High School ELA [English/Language Arts] Classroom, which detailed their student engagement strategies and the compelling data they've collected along the way.
These data provide robust evidence that making ACT English and Reading practice a part of daily classroom work raises students' ACT scores and leads to better opportunities for the students' futures. As ACT English and Reading scores continue to increase, the GHS administration has maintained its support, providing momentum and a strong argument for making similar changes in the school's math and science departments.
Pryor and Brown’s initial implementation plan was to use the MTP program in ELA classrooms during dedicated Friday sessions in which study could be teacher-led or student self-directed. As they became more familiar with the program, they expanded its use across the English department. Throughout, Pryor and Brown have also found that the program has helped students build general test taking skills like time management, answer choice elimination, and educated guessing. The program’s goals are twofold: to increase students’ composite ACT scores to meet state benchmarks, and to increase students’ scholarship eligibility.
The improvements in GHS students’ ACT English and Reading scores from 2018 to 2019 were simply impressive. The average ACT English score increased from 15.7 in 2018 to 16.9 in 2019; the average ACT Reading score jumped from 16.8 in 2018 to 17.3 in 2019. And all this while Alabama’s state-level ACT averages dropped. It’s a strong testament to Pryor and Brown’s success in implementing MTP.
Of course, their work has not been without its challenges. Access to technology, for one, has not always been universal, but in this pandemic year, GHS has moved to a 1:1 model, providing all students with the devices they need to access the online program. Student apathy is always a hurdle, but Pryor and Brown work hard to motivate students to take initiative in building their individual futures. A particular struggle comes in explaining the importance of the ACT to students who have chosen non-academic career paths in trade or technical schools or the military. Finding a way to keep those kids motivated and improving is what separates great teachers like Pryor and Brown from the pack. Every student should be so lucky to have mentors who invest in their potential. Pryor and Brown’s students are privileged to have them in their lives for this and so much more.
More about Naomi and Andy
What do you enjoy most about your job?
We both enjoy watching the students take control of their learning, improve their skills and find their passions.
Do you have a job related memory or event that stands out as particularly rewarding?
Andy: Watching graduation each year and seeing how proud the students are.
Naomi: Connecting students with their real-life heroes. I had the opportunity to connect a student musician with a local (Alabama) musician that he idolized. Watching the two of them meet and connect was life-changing for us all.
How do you like to spend your summers or vacation time?
Andy: Traveling with my wife and kids
Naomi: I help with summer school, so my summer is shorter. I really enjoy spending time with my husband who is also a teacher. Having coordinating schedules is the best!
What are your hobbies?
Andy: Playing guitar and traveling
Naomi: reading and cooking/baking
If you would like to nominate an individual or organization working with MTP to be considered for a Spotlight Award, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Spotlight. Please also share this story with people in education as well as with parents and other interested parties!
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