LAKEVIEW — It’s not yet official that Lakeview High School’s ACT scores are the best in the county, but it’s looking likely. According to High School Principal Gary Jensen, recent test results are more than encouraging.
The ACT test — a college readiness exam administered to high school students nationwide — showed impressive improvement for Lakeview’s junior class, which will be graduating in 2014. Test scores for current students graduating in 2015, 2016 and 2017 also have gone up since 2010.
“We are extremely excited to see the final results from the county level and see where our students rank in comparison to other county schools,” Jensen said. “The composite average of 19.6 is our highest score ever for Lakeview High School, and results will show that it will be one of the highest scores in the county. We could not be more proud of the hard work our students and staff put in to achieve this success.”
These improvements in test scores are especially gratifying to Lakeview administrators and staff, coming so shortly after a particularly low rating in August 2010. That year, the school system landed on a list of 92 schools statewide rated Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) by the Michigan Department of Education.
Jensen said that rating served as “a wake-up call” to the district.
Administrators and teachers set new goals, developed new teaching strategies and came up with ways to inspire students to want to excel. By last October, the grades of junior students’ ACT scores were the third highest in the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District. At that time, Jensen said he hoped to see further improvement, which is exactly what has happened.
Changes in curriculum, particularly the inclusion of the Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) learning system, have been instrumental in bringing about the higher ACT scores, according to Jensen.
The system also is being implemented at Lakeview Middle School where, according to Principal Tim Erspamer, results have been encouraging.
“It’s working very well for all the students,” Erspamer said. “It works with our cognitively impaired kids and our students who excel academically.”
“EBLI continues to kick our scores up,” Jensen added. “If students are struggling with reading, they can’t score well on any tests, really. So we’re really working on that reading comprehension for kids and giving them more confidence so they can really attack that test.”
Jensen is particularly proud of a few standout students, like junior Kyle Lodden, who scored an impressive ACT score of 32.
“Kyle will be accepted to just about any university he wants to attend,” Jensen said. “Congratulations (are due) Kyle on his hard work, and to Kyle’s teachers who have done so much to help him and so many Lakeview students make the strong academic improvements.”
To commemorate the impressive test score gains, the school will host a parade later this spring featuring members of the student body as well as police and school vehicles.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids wanting to perform and the staff continuing to push them,” Jensen said. “They understand we want to get up by two more points in the next year, but it all comes down to the hard work of the kids. They believe in this as a group and as individuals.”