PAC Meeting Minutes – Nov. 14, 2017

PAC MeetingNov 14, 2017 Agenda overview (Dave)

  • Panel on college issues
  • Announcements:
    • SEPTA news: On 12/11 hosting a chat with the superintendent and his panel. At the Ed Center.  You must be a paid SEPTA member to ask a question but all are invited to attend.
    • Kia attended a diversity conference last week. Superintendent & school board members were in attendance.  Was a panel of students from all comprehensive high schools in Arlington, as well as the program high schools.
      • Statements came up with a statement on their own to be shared with the PAC & all PTAs.
    • APS is looking for parent and student input on the 6-year school vision. Details in the PAC emails.
    • Directory of all students & families at HB is finalized and should be available before Thanksgiving break.

Principal’s report (Graham)

  • Thank you for the election day breakfast for the teachers.
  • Frank’s last day is December 1st. Casey returns on December 4th.
  • Now is the stress time for our Seniors. Early action deadlines are Nov 15 or Dec 1.  One teacher has written 34 letters of recommendation this fall.
  • On Oct 19 a group of students and staff went to a “celebration of a new foundation” at the new HB site on Wilson Blvd. There are a couple of videos on the APS website.  A time capsule (Frisbee, student handbook, ‘bottle of thyme’).
  • Tuesday is Turkey Bowl. Town Meeting today.  7th & 8th graders play Chicken Bowl.
  • SRO Koch has transitioned to Yorktown. Officer Treacle is coming to HB (formerly at Swanson).
  • MS Play is this Thursday & Friday (King John).
  • HB Lottery has started for 5th The lottery process is centralized and all applications happen online.  All questions go to the APS Welcome Center, and HB will redirect questions there.

Panel on College Issues

  • Slideshow will be posted on HB Website
  • Ed Clark – HB Graduate.
  • Randy McNight – former HB English teacher & educational consultant
  • Sue De Gallipo – will speak about gap years
  • Randy:
    • Consultants will ask:
    • What do you need help with? (school choice, financial, essay help, standardized testing, portfolio prep, sports, interview/audition prep, gap year) Any part of the application process.
  • What resources are already available?
    • HB TA
    • Fathima Posada-Bellaz
    • Other TAs, administration in the school (Casey, Kate, Graham)
    • Online: Naviance & beyond. Kahn Academy.
    • Books
  • What may trigger a need for outside help?
    • Test prep. This IS a test
    • Gap year – talk to someone with experience
    • High level sports
  • Selecting an outside advisor: Factors to consider:
    • Experience matters.
    • Be wary of promised outcomes.
    • Emphasize that the child does the work
    • Visits – want someone who has visited college campuses & knows the programs
    • References which match your child.
    • Coordinate with HB TA
    • Cost – a very wide range. Typically $100-200/hr
  • Financial Aid
    • Need based: Cost of Attendance (COA) = tuition, room & board, food. Subtract Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) equals NEED
    • Non-need based aid (merit aid). What is the need of the college?
    • Possible Aid:
      • Grant (scholarship): not paid back
      • Work-study
      • Loans
    • How to apply for need & non-need based aid
      • Apply to the school
      • Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
        • Does not look at residence, retirement accounts, life insurance, pensions. Does look at trusts & college savings plans.
      • CSS profile (College Scholarship Search Profile) (mostly private schools). FAFSA + other things (the excluded items)
      • Sometimes verification is needed
    • Estimating the EFC
      • FAFSA4caster – federal tool to estimate EFC
      • NPC (Net Price Calculator) – per school. When you’re serious about a school, talk to the financial aid office & ask about their experience with the NPC – is it accurate?
      • FinAid – has federal & school calculators
    • Gap Year (Sue)
      • Often accepted student asks for a deferment. With a detailed plan to the school.
      • Gap Year Programs (structured)
      • Split the year into 3rds or 4th Work (interning).  Take a couple classes at a community college.  International volunteering.  Travel.
      • Federal National Programs: AmeriCorps
    • ACT vs SAT (Everett)
      • Know the differences between the tests.
      • Compare results of practice testing (PSAT vs test ACT vs test SAT). Concentrate & prep for the one you do better on.

 

  • Q&A
    • Do colleges super-score the SAT & ACT?
      • Yes, many superscore both. Do any combine SAT & ACT scores?
    • If the student has taken Algebra 2 in their Sophomore year, when should the SAT/ACT be taken?
      • Sometimes a freshman takes Algebra 2 and takes the SAT/ACT as a Sophomore. Can also re-take.  There’s an option to re-take in the fall of the senior year, too.
    • Gap year – apply to a college and then elect for a deferment, or take the gap year then apply?
      • Either way, most apply as a senior and defer so parents have a sense of security.
    • Pros & cons about the optional essay?
      • If the college requires it. More competitive colleges may require it.  Those that don’t require it don’t really care.  Encourage all kids to sign up for it.
    • Guidance for SAT essay scores and what is a good score?
      • 2 people read your essay. Score is 1-4 in 3 areas (Reading Analysis & Writing).  Max of 8 points in each category.  Ave score would be a 5 in each area, so a 15.
      • Colleges do not know what to do with it.
    • Fair to say the essay is not the most important part of the test score?
      • Yes, very fair to say.
    • Financial Aid: Are packages offered for 1 year & renewed 4 times?  Do you have to do FAPSA every year to qualify?  Are the aid package offers sent at the same time as acceptance letters?
      • No, it is not a 1 year renewable for 4 years. There is a lot that goes into the package (possible grade requirements, etc). It is not usually “this is it for 4 years.”  Changes to financial situation year over year.
      • Financial aid does not come at the same time as acceptance. It is usually later on.  Good question to ask when on tours.
    • Is there a downside to taking SAT/ACT multiple times?
      • Even 3-4 times is totally fine. Never come up as a concern with ‘reasonable’ numbers.
      • Downside is the kid has to take it 3-4 (or more) times. That’s a lot of prep.
      • Compare practice tests vs the real thing. If better or equal, maybe don’t re-take.
    • If a school doesn’t consider the SAT/ACT essay, will they look negatively on a poor score?
      • No, if the school doesn’t consider it, they should not count it against the student.
    • Are non-student or parent resources seen in the EFC?
      • Not in the first year, no. But once the source is used to pay for the school it will be known for future years.
    • How predictive is ACT/SAT testing vs the real thing?
      • The predictive tests are actual tests and all are well correlated to students taking the real thing.
    • Are other accommodations (besides extra time) allowed on SAT/ACT? Read-aloud, special needs, etc.
      • Students have gotten accommodation to take the tests over multiple days, using computers, etc.  If there is an accommodation you need in school and have a Dr note, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get the accommodation on the test.
    • Is one better than the other for accommodations?
      • ACT has historically been worse, likely because it is a time-pressure test. That may be changing due to continued competition.
    • How does Common Application work with SAT/ACT?
      • Many schools use Common App. Some schools have extra questions.  There’s a “Coalition Application” for about 100 schools.  Many schools just have their own unique application.
    • Thoughts on volunteer activities?
      • What most admissions people tell us is they want to see things that are authentic interests of the student, pursued over time.
    • How important is Naviance?
      • It can get you a rough sense of HB kids who have been accepted into schools in the past.  Has a resume creator.  Lots of nice tools in there.  Contact Fatima for access – parents can have an account, too.
    • Is Naviance used at other high schools in Arlington?
      • Should be the same. Private schools are often different.  Scattergrams would be different for different HSs.
    • How much improvement is expected in test prep?
      • Increase is a little more in math, can be about 60 points. Depends how much is test strategy vs knowledge gaps.