High test scores earn chance for gifted summer classes
About 200 middle and junior high school students in San Luis and Somerton have passed college entrance exams that represent the first step in qualifying to attend summer classes that Johns Hopkins University offers to gifted students.
Of 198 students from Southwest Junior High School in San Luis who took the ACT college exam, 102 passed. Meanwhile, 48 of 98 San Luis Middle School students passed the test, and 50 of 60 students Somerton Middle School students passed.
The ACT test covers math, English and science, and is used around the nation as a college entrance exam. But Johns Hopkins also uses it to qualify 10,000 academically gifted middle and junior high students for summer enrichment classes that it offers at college campuses around the nation through its Center for Talented Youth program.
“More than half (of Gadsden students who take the test) continue to pass it,” said Homero Chavez, a Southwest Junior High counselor. “That's a good indication that the efforts of the students and the teachers and all the hours they've spent in tutoring are serving to prepare them to take the exam.”
While not as many Gadsden students took the ACT test this year as last, said Chavez, the percentage of students who passed remained about the same.
This year's students in the Gadsden district took the ACT in January. Results were released to the district recently.
The Somerton Elementary School District began more recently to encourage its students to take the exam for eligibility in the summer classes.
Jessica Martinez, a math teacher at Somerton Middle School, said parents deserve much of the credit for the high percentage of Somerton students who passed the exam. She said the district hopes in future years to offer tutoring to the Somerton students to give them additional preparation for the exam.
“We haven't been able to offer it (up to now), but I hope we will be able to do it soon. We help parents with the application program and with other needs, but we lack tutoring for the students.”
The next steps for students who passed the exams is to submit applications for scholarships from Johns Hopkins to pay all or a portion of their expenses while attending the out-of-town programs, such as room and board and books, said Chavez.
Students who can't travel out of town can take the Johns Hopkins courses online.