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PSAT Prep – Get Ready Now!

PSAT Prep – Get Ready Now!

The primary test date for the 2017 PSAT/NMSQT is Wednesday, October 11th. If you’re not familiar with this particular test prep acronym, PSAT is short for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (or pre-SAT) and NMSQT is short for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Most US students take this test during their 10th or 11th grade year in high school, as a matter of general course curriculum. Students who receive top scores are eligible to receive scholarship funds for college through the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program uses the PSAT/NMSQT as a screening tool of approximately 1.6 million US high school students. Approximately 50,000 of the top scoring students on the PSAT/NMSQT are eligible for recognition and/or scholarship funds through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Roughly two thirds of the qualifying students will receive a letter of commendation recognizing their academic achievements, while the remaining one third will be named as semifinalists and continue on for a chance to earn one of three scholarship funding awards. In order to advance from semifinalist to finalist (and receive one of three scholarship awards), students must submit additional qualifying documentation, such as academic records and a recommendation from the school principal. Students must also take the actual SAT exam in order to validate their PSAT scores, as a condition of being considered for finalist status. Finalists are ultimately awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship, a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship (if the finalist has been accepted to college at that time), or a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship.

What Subjects Are Tested On The PSAT/NMSQT?

The PSAT/NMSQT follows nearly the same format as the SAT exam, with the exception of being a shorter test. The PSAT/NMSQT is a 2 hour and 45 minute test, while the SAT is 3 hours (plus an additional 50 minutes with the optional Essay).  In addition, although scored on a common scale score with the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT has a maximum possible score of 1520 vs the SAT’s top possible score of 1600. The two tests are the same in terms of what subject material is covered, with both measuring student performance in Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The PSAT/NMSQT has a total of 139 questions to be answered in a total time of 165 minutes; the SAT has a total of 154 questions to be answered in a total time of 180 minutes (without the optional Essay) offering slightly less time per question than the PSAT/NMSQT.

Why Prep Now?

With a little more than a month before the national primary day of PSAT/NMSQT test administration, students still have time to complete an intensive test prep program to help them perform their best on test day. Comprehensive test prep programs should include content review in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, active reading, data analysis and standard English conventions, and strategy development for best addressing each of the types of test questions, pacing, and overcoming test anxiety. Z Prep!, the test prep division of Club Z! In-Home Tutoring, offers in-home and online test prep for PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, with top tutors and proven strategies for maximizing test scores. For one-on-one, in-home test prep, call 800-434-2582 to connect with a tutor nearest you. Or register today for the September SAT group online class, which starts Saturday, September 9th and will continue through Saturday, September 30th.

Club Z! Expands Services to Include Online Test Prep Classes and On-Demand Homework Help

Club Z! Expands Services to Include Online Test Prep Classes and On-Demand Homework Help

For more than 20 years, Club Z! Tutoring has worked diligently to become North America’s premier in-home tutoring and test prep company, offering one-on-one tutoring in all subjects, for all grade levels, in the comfort and convenience of the student’s home. In recent years, Club Z! also added online tutoring and test prep services to its repertoire of educational services to better meet the needs of its students, and to complement the growing presence of technology in the classroom. Club Z!’s online tutoring and test prep services have been very well received, leading the tutoring firm to announce plans for expansion of its online services this fall – the addition of SAT and ACT classes and on-demand homework help.

Club Z! Vice President, Cari Diaz, offered this about the new online services, “We’re very excited about our online test prep classes and online homework help. Our tutors, both in-home and online, are top-notch educators who truly enjoy helping students succeed. In fact, with our in-home tutoring model, students often improve a letter grade or two after just a few weeks of tutoring. But it’s not uncommon for a student to need a little extra homework support in between weekly tutoring lessons, or to need more flexible options for SAT and ACT Prep. That’s why we are confident that these new online services will help us better meet the needs of the families we serve.”

On-Demand Online Homework Help

Starting Monday, September 18, 2017, Club Z!’s new online, on-demand homework help will offer virtual tutoring in math, science and Language Arts for students in grades 4-12. The on-demand homework help program will be available Monday through Thursday from 6 pm to 10 pm Eastern initially, but Club Z! plans to expand access in the first quarter of 2018. New and existing in-home tutoring clients can add the unlimited online homework help for as little as $99 per month. But as an extra incentive, families who are currently enrolled with Club Z! for a minimum of 3 hours per week of in-home lessons will receive the added online homework help program for FREE!

Club Z!’s online virtual tutoring platform has easy-to-use pen and paper-like capabilities. Students can easily upload homework assignments and work through problems using real-time audio and video, a digital whiteboard, and screen and document sharing. In addition, all of Club Z!’s online tutors must meet the same stringent vetting requirements as their in-home counterparts – including a thorough reference check, validation of teaching credential and relevant tutoring experience, and successful completion of a criminal background check.

Online SAT and ACT Classes

Club Z! online tutors will use this same virtual classroom platform to offer small group online ACT and SAT prep classes beginning September 3, 2017 for ACT and September 9, 2017 for SAT, respectively. These online test prep classes will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays each month, in 3-hour lesson blocks, throughout the 2017-18 school year. Students that enroll in one of Club Z!’s online test prep classes will receive a comprehensive diagnostic test with projected score and detailed answer analysis, access to a full suite of online curriculum and assignments, 12 hours of live online instruction with a top test prep tutor, and all sessions are recorded in HD for future playback and added review.

Results from the summer 2017 pilot classes were very positive. Adds Diaz, “The weekend classes really help meet the demands of our families with busy schedules. Many of the clients who enroll in our online classes are student athletes or have other extracurricular or work commitments, so the weekend scheduling, and the opportunity to watch the recorded playback of the lessons, offer big advantages to these students and their families.”

For information on how to enroll in an online test prep class, visit https://clubztutoring.com/test-preparation/online-classes/. Or to find an in-home tutor near you, call 800-434-2582.

Learn High School Study Skills with Club Z!

Learn High School Study Skills with Club Z!

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you know how important proper study skills are to your student’s success in the classroom. But getting a high school student to embrace good study habits is often easier said than done. Club Z! offers a proven study skills curriculum to help your student learn study skills to last a lifetime. This curriculum program, Learning built to Last, is designed with high school students in mind, with relevant tips and strategies that your student can use well into college. Whether your child is going to start his/her first or last year of high school this fall, summer is the perfect time of year to learn high school study skills with Club Z!

Proven Study Tips

No one can argue the importance of proper study skills for kids. Being able to take good notes, engage in active reading, develop study and memorization techniques, and prepare adequately for upcoming tests and quizzes are all essential skills that students need in order to do well in school. However, these skills are not often taught in a classroom setting. Students are just expected to learn them somewhere along the way. So how can you help your child improve on these important skills for the upcoming high school year? Here are a few tips for success:

  • Turn off the “noisemakers.” As most parents can readily attest, children are drawn to the television like bees to honey! When it’s time to study or get homework done, it should be a no-brainer to turn off the television. It’s also wise to remove access to other possible distractions such as mp3 players, cell phones and the internet (unless of course the internet is required for the project at hand). You know your children best – if a little music helps them focus and stay on task, then moderation is the key. And of course it couldn’t hurt to invest in a set of headphones!
  • Pick a specific area at home for studying and school work. A really critical component to successful studying is to identify a space where your children can focus, free from distractions. This often means that the best place for them to study isn’t always the place of their choosing (i.e. on the couch in front of the television – see Tip 1). Ideal spaces may include your child’s bedroom or the dining room table. For whichever area you select, be sure to set the stage for success by ensuring that there is adequate desk space and lighting. Most desks for young people don’t really have sufficient space to spread out materials such as textbooks, workbooks, planners, scratch paper, resource materials, etc. A table that allows for all necessary supplies and other essentials can make a huge difference in your child’s study time!
  • Set a consistent schedule and realistic expectations. Balancing homework, extracurricular activities, and family life can sometimes seem harder than herding cats, as the saying goes! But as difficult as setting a consistent schedule may be, it can pay dividends for your child’s productivity and the family’s sanity. One simple step is to try to organize the household so that dinner is served at a standard time during the week. Once dinner is over, you can designate that time as study time. Of course homework can always be done before dinner if your schedule permits, but providing a predictable schedule for everyday activities like dinner and baths makes it much easier for your children to plan their day and meet expectations in the classroom and at home. Speaking of expectations, it is important to consider your child’s developmental level and attention span when setting the amount of time for homework. A high school student can generally remain focused on a single task for 90 minutes or more. But it’s still important to allow your student to take breaks as needed – you can even plan them as rewards for finishing a section of the work.
  • Get organized. Get a large calendar, one that allows space for jotting down things in the daily boxes. Rip it apart so that you and your child can sequentially mount the school months for the current semester. For example, you can tear off September, October, November, December and January and mount them from left to right across one wall. Have the child use a bold color highlighter or felt tip pen to mark exam dates in one color, reports that are coming due in a different color, etc. For students with “smart” cell phones, there are several free calendar applications with multiple useful features that can also easily be used to highlight important dates and set reminders. Academic planners are strongly encouraged. This can be a simple pad of paper or even a free application on your child’s phone or tablet (if applicable). This allows students to jot down assignments and set reminders for due dates.
  • Encourage your child to go above and beyond what the assignment calls for. One of the most common misconceptions about doing schoolwork is that you simply need to complete the assignment; when in reality, you need to do much more to learn and retain the information you’re reviewing. In order to build these strong study habits and lifelong learning skills, encourage your child to do things like take notes while reading a chapter, learn to skim material for important information, pay attention to tables and charts, summarize reading passages in his/her own words, make flash cards for quick review of important information like key dates, formulas, etc. You can also help by making sure that the important materials and resources are in ready supply. This includes highlighters, pens, pencils, erasers, blank note cards, rulers, and scratch paper.
  • Take strong notes. Effective note-taking is a skill that most students struggle to master. Many feel as if they have to write down every word the teacher says, while others have difficulty figuring out which concepts are important enough to write down and end up with very little information at the end of class. All students can benefit from learning how to take effective notes. Many students find an outline version of note-taking to be easy to adopt. Outlines allow students to arrange information from general to more specific. Students can
    create outlines using any symbol or form they find helpful, whether formal (i.e. Roman numerals) or informal. And well prepared teachers present their material in a format that lends itself to outline form. An outline is only one form of effective note-taking. Students should be encouraged to find the format that best suits their learning styles and preferences. Students may also wish to rewrite notes, particularly if a lot of material was covered and the student had a hard time writing quickly and organizing the information appropriately. Rewriting notes can be an excellent review of the subject matter. However, rewriting notes isn’t worth the time unless they are used for review and recall of important information.

Learning Built to Last Study Skills Program

If your child could benefit from a study skills program, Club Z!’s Learning Built to Last series may be the answer. This proven study skills program helps students listen better, read better, and study better. It includes a learning style diagnostic and a learning inventory to help students better understand how they best learn. In addition, the Learning Built to Last program also:

  • Helps the student understand study skills in terms of his/her own interests and experiences.
  • Explains why strategies work and puts them in a bigger context with real life examples like movies, musicians, sports and video games.
  • Doesn’t read like a traditional textbook. The tone is conversational and the pages are full of pictures and stories, which appeals to teens.
  • Plays to the adolescent mindset by emphasizing personal style and providing students with options so they can find a system they like.
  • Uses hands-on activities as much as possible.

Again, summer is the ideal time to develop these lifelong study skills. For more information, and details about our summer Learning Built to Last specials, call 800-434-CLUB [2582].

 

What is a Charter School?

What is a Charter School?

In the current debate on educational policy in America, the charter school system has taken a front-and-center seat. But not many people understand how a charter school works, or what makes a charter school a charter school. In fact, the findings from a recent PDK/Gallup Poll survey on the public’s attitude toward education showed that a significant percent of those surveyed did not understand the charter school system at all. According to the poll, nearly half (48%) of respondents did not know that charter schools are public schools; another 57% thought that charter schools charged tuition, and nearly half of those surveyed thought that charter schools were allowed to teach religion. All of these beliefs are false when it comes to charter schools. So what is a charter school, and why all of the buzz?

What exactly is a Charter School?

A charter school is a public school that is independent of the local school district. Instead of being subject to local school district control and oversight, a charter school is governed by a “charter” or a legal agreement which outlines the rules and requirements of its operation, as well as expected outcomes and performance measures. Charter schools are approved and evaluated by non-profit accreditation organizations which are responsible for measuring performance, from test scores and graduation rates to financial management of the school. These same organizations determine whether or not the school gets to keep its charter and remain open every 3-5 years, on average.

How is a Charter School different from a Public School?

A charter school is often thought of as a hybrid school system. Charter schools are similar to public schools in that they receive federal and state funding, do not charge tuition, must teach a secular curriculum, and may not discriminate against any student. However, charter schools have more flexibility than public schools in how they teach, the qualifications of the teachers they hire, and the participation requirements imposed on the families that choose to attend the charter school.

Nina Rees, head of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, also pointed out in a recent NPR interview differences in funding and transportation for charter schools as compared with public schools:

“On average, charters receive 30 percent less per pupil, per year compared to traditional public schools. That gap is due in large part to the fact that charters don’t have access to the same funding streams [like school construction bonds] that traditional school systems have to build schools.

Transportation is another issue. [Charters] draw students from all over but we have to provide our own transportation, or parents rely on public transportation, because school districts do not make their buses available to charter schools.”

How is a Charter School different from a Private School?

Charter schools are similar to private schools (and dissimilar to public schools) in that students may elect to attend a charter school, and attendance is not based on where the student resides. Contrary to popular opinion however, a charter school may not turn students away any more than a public school could turn students away, based on a student’s disability or specialized learning need (e.g. English Language Learners). When a charter school receives more applications for enrollment than it has room for students, it must conduct a lottery for enrollment.

Are Charter Schools more effective than Public Schools?

The effectiveness of charter schools, as compared with public schools in the same markets, has been hotly debated, and difficult to measure. However, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance conducted a study in 36 charter middle schools in 15 states and found some interesting effectiveness data. The participating charter middle schools all used a lottery system for student enrollment. The summary data showed that parent and student satisfaction with these charter middle schools were higher than parent and student satisfaction with the local public schools. In addition, the findings showed that students attending the charter middle schools in urban areas, as well as those serving high proportions of low-income and low-achieving students, experienced higher math test scores than students attending the local public middle schools.

As a parent, only you know what school environment is best for your child. If you believe that a charter school may benefit your child, you can find a list of charter schools in your area by visiting the Center for Education Reform or using this handy charter school locator tool from the National Charter School Research Center. Whether your child attends public, charter, or private school, Club Z! can help him/her excel in all subjects, from math and reading to history, foreign language, science, and social studies. For more information on locating a tutor, call 800-434-2582.

Students Honored through Club Z! Scholarship Award

Students Honored through Club Z! Scholarship Award

Since 2004, Club Z! has awarded more than $250,000 to deserving students in grades 5 – 12 through its Annual Achievement Award. This scholarship is funded in partnership between the Club Z! corporate headquarters and its network of 450+ franchisees throughout North America, and generally awards $25,000 or more each year through its fall and spring award periods. The Annual Achievement Award is unique in its design, which is to honor students for outstanding achievement, not just academically but also those who display strong character, achieve personal growth, demonstrate leadership in and out of the classroom, and face adversity with grace and perseverance. Now in it’s 14th year of administration, the Annual Achievement Award proudly gave top honors this past spring to students across North America, from Boca Raton to Toronto.

To be considered for the Annual Achievement Award, students must be nominated by their classroom teachers or coaches. The award applications are collected and reviewed at the Club Z! headquarters in Tampa, FL in the fall and spring. Each year, as the panel of judges reads the Annual Achievement Award submissions, they are overcome with the level of determination, hard work, and laser-like focus these student applicants show. As Amanda LeBleu, Club Z!’s Director of Franchise Support stated, “it’s always such an emotional process to go through the hundreds of applications we receive each semester. Narrowing the applicants down to our Grand Prize, Runner Up, and Honorable Mention recipients is no easy task. But we thoroughly enjoy getting a glimpse into the lives of these students, and helping to celebrate their accomplishments in some small way.”

Grand Prize award winner, Maria Linehan
Maria Linehan receives top honors with Grand Prize award from Club Z!

In May 2017, the recipient of the Annual Achievement Award Grand Prize was Maria Linhan , senior at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, IN. Maria plans to attend Hope College in Holland, Michigan this coming fall, and pursue a degree in Social Work. Local Indianapolis Club Z! franchise owner, Maggie Schilling [pictured at right: second from the left, with Linehan in front] was thrilled to be able to present the award to this talented student at a school, saying “Maria is a very sweet, hard working and deserving student!”

Evan Casalino receives Annual Achievement Award
Evan Casalino receives $1,000 Annual Achievement Award

The spring 2017 Runner Up recipient was Evan Casalino, junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ. Christine Ross, owner/Area Director of the Club Z! office in Bergen County, NJ presented Evan with a check for $1,000 to recognize his outstanding achievements [pictured at left]. Ross enjoyed meeting with Evan and his grandparents, who were all thrilled to receive the funds for school.

In addition to the Annual Achievement Award funding that is provided by the Club Z! corporate office, Club Z!’s franchised offices also fund local awards to ensure that there is a greater opportunity to recognize these deserving students. One student recipient of a local Annual Achievement Award scholarship wrote this thank you note to the Club Z! franchise owner in Manchester, NH, “I am a Manchester Central High School graduate and the recipient of the $100 Annual Achievement scholarship from Club Z. Thank you, Mrs. Lisa Becotte for considering me for the scholarship. I am very humbled to be the recipient. The money will be respectively used to offset college expenses.”

Club Z! pledges to continue the Annual Achievement Award tradition this fall, with the award opening August 1, 2017 and closing November 30, 2017. The fall award announcements will be made during the first week of December 2017. To obtain an Annual Achievement Award application, visit https://clubzaward.com.

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