School Vitality Updates
The Administration and Faculty at Pope John Paul II High School are committed to continuous improvement in the area of Academic Excellence. The ACT is a standard measurement to determine a student's preparedness for college. Parents and students alike consider it a priority, and ranked it as #3 during our School Vitality Summit.
Academic Excellence - Goal #8: To expose all students to the academic guidelines required to improve ACT scores from the student's admission to Pope John Paul II to their graduation.
In 2018, PJPII began using CERT (College Equipped Readiness Tool) to assist faculty and students in tracking progress on skills and improvement. Beginning in 8th grade, the test is given twice a year via iPad and once in the spring on paper, to mimic the ACT.
CERT allows schools to assess students through either online or offline test administrations. Furthermore:
- All CERT tests are age-appropriate and aligned with the Career and College Readiness Standards
- All CERT tests cover the content areas included in the ACT: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science
- All CERT tests match the format (i.e., # of questions, question types, difficulty level, timing, etc.) of the current ACT, PreACT, and EXPLORE tests
CERT provides valuable data to EVERY stakeholder. Students, Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents can, as appropriate, access reports on:
- Individual and group composite performance
- Individual and group performance by subject area (English, Mathematics, Reading, or Science)
- Individual and group performance on three levels of the Career and College Readiness Standards
- Individual and group performance on subject-specific content that is organized using language that is generally familiar to students and teachers
In addition to its assessment functionality, CERT provides remedial instruction to students through researched-based, instructional video lessons. Lessons can be accessed via:
- An online Exam Room that provides each student performance feedback and video answer explanations for each and every test question
- An online Study Hall that recommends subject-matter and strategy video lessons based on each individual student's performance
For more specific information on how parents and students can use CERT to improve their ACT score, go to www.certforschools.com.
PJPII Stakeholders voted that Academic Excellence ranks high in our priorities for the future - 2 of the top 3 priorities in fact. In the past year, Administration and Faculty implemented programs and initiatives to improve academic rigor at the school.
The following programs or initiatives are currently in place, and fall under Academic Excellence, Vision Area Goal #1: To enhance academic rigor and innovation addressing 8th-12th grades through an academic plan in all subjects including college prep, honors and advanced placement.
- +2 Focus - Focus on those students on the cusp of earning TOPS scholarship funds for college. Assist these students in raising their GPA and/or ACT score to qualify for TOPS. Every single point translates into dollars for higher learning in Louisiana.
- Curriculum Coaching Team - This team of 4 faculty members in addition to the Assistant Principal work with all members of the faculty to analyze data, observe instruction, improve pedagogy, and engage students in order to improve academic rigor in all classes.
- Curriculum Mapping - Curriculum Coaches lead all faculty members in the Curriculum Mapping project in Rubicon Atlas. This mapping, done in Rubicon Atlas, provides a consistent curriculum within a subject area and across all subjects.
- Rubicon Atlas Implementation - The software application provides Curriculum Mapping, Unit Planning, and Lesson Planning.
- Encourages a focus on skills and helps increase critical thinking.
- Assists in pacing of lessons.
- Lesson Planning module.
- Helps incorporate Catholic Identity across the curriculum.
- The Curriculum Coaching Team monitors progress and assists as needed.
- The mapping of all curriculum is a detailed and lengthy process that could take 3+ years to complete for all subjects and classes.
Stay tuned for more School Vitality Updates!