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Class for success

South’s new SAT class provides guiding tools for success in testing.
Courtesy of NDLA
Alya Augspurger ’26
Courtesy of NDLA

Students can breathe a sigh of relief now that the plans have been made official for a class that is fully based on the study and preparation for the SAT. This new class, which will focus on the SAT will be made available to students starting second semester. While this opportunity is open to all students, the class will cater to students who have struggled with the SAT, or those who want extra practice to help improve their scores.

Counselor Beth Walsh-Sahutske said she helped students with the decision to make the switch into the class. For some students, Walsh-Sahutske makes a recommendation based on their previous SAT/PSAT scores, although any student has the opportunity to opt in to the class.

“The purpose of the SAT class is to raise literacy scores on the SAT,” Walsh-Sahutske said. “This class is good for any student planning on taking the SAT or the PSAT.”

This program, which will be funded by grant money the school board received during the COVID 19 pandemic, aims to bridge the gap between students who struggle with standardized testing and the scores they hope to achieve.

“The money we received from COVID is to support education and academics,” Walsh-Sahutske said. “We need to use it to help remediate some of the effects of the time that kids lost in school due to COVID.”

For Taylor Lewis, ’25 COVID-19 had a lasting impact on her ability to retain new information. Her studying habits progressively worsened, as she struggled to find support.

“COVID made me get into a routine of not studying as much as I used to,” Lewis said. “During that time I lacked bonding with my teachers so I didn’t understand the material, or their lessons as well.”

Under the guidance of teacher Nicole Westfall, the class will utilize online programs, including practice tests that vary depending on the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Every week they have expectations to work in online programs,” Westfall said. “They’re called Lexia and KhanAcademy. We start with Lexia, then students will create an account on KhanAcademy later in the class.”

According to Westfall, KhanAcademy allows students to create tests specific to what they need to improve their learning progress. By connecting their PSAT/SAT scores into KhanAcademy, it will craft practice tests that are specific to and appropriate for each student.

“I have every kid create an account for my classroom and then go into the College Board and connect their PSAT scores to it,” Westfall said. “Then once they start KhanAcademy, the tests will tailor to how you did and the questions you have missed.”

For students in their junior year who plan to attend college, the SAT test is a crucial consideration. This class aims to provide students with the tools they need to improve their SAT score, and subsequently, boost their college applications.

“I’m looking forward to taking this SAT class for my own benefit,” Lewis said. “I believe that preparation for tests helps me a lot, and will increase my score with the practice that’s given to me in this class.”

According to Westfall, the class counts as a credit for all those who take it, which ensures students don’t fall short of the required credits needed to graduate. Even though it offers a credit, the class operates as a tutorial on some days, during which students can use the time to focus on completing their homework or studying for other classes.

“Everyday is different in this class,” Westfall said. “It’s like a tutorial some days, and I even do check-ins with students’ grades to see if they need help in a certain subject.”

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About the Contributor
Murphy Russell '25
Murphy Russell '25, Staff Writer
Murphy Russell ’25 creativity takes on the Tower this year. With being out-going, and having lots of interest in many different things, these new stories will become eye-catching. Russell is the starting pitcher on the South Varsity Softball team and loves practicing the sport with her close friends. “I find lots of joy in sports, it makes me happy to be active,” Russell said. “Especially being on the field and playing what I love.” This first-year staffer is looking forward to working with other Tower members, when it comes to working together, that is right up her alley. “I like to be with others when working on projects, or involving anything with school work,” Russell said. “I’ve always been the type to go out of my way to work with others, it just seems a more enjoyable way to get assignments completed.”

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