Free SAT training will be provided to D209 students, including those at Proviso East High School, pictured here. | File photo

A special SAT prep and bootcamp has been approved for all students in the Proviso Township high schools after a March 16 school board vote at a special meeting. The program will be available at Proviso Math and Science Academy, Proviso East and Proviso West. Students wishing to participate in this free training should reach out to their school principal.

The SAT will be offered to juniors and seniors in the district on April 13; students with special accommodations will take the test over two days, completing the exam on April 14.

According to Nicole Wilson, D209 communications director, the state of Illinois requires juniors to take the SAT, but because of the pandemic, some current seniors missed the test last year, and the state is waiving taking the SAT as a graduation requirement for this year only.

But Wilson said, “While the SAT is no longer required for seniors graduating this year, we highly encourage them to take it in April.”

The district will offer an intensive boot camp, including test taking tips and review ideas. This free training will be open to around 500 juniors and seniors.

To promote participation, the district will give $100 as a credit toward school accounts for all those who sign up and attend at least 80 percent of the sessions. This could help toward future registration costs.

Originally, the board was supposed to vote on a similar program on March 9 but tabled the discussion so the program could be broadened from 240 students to over 500. The district has contracted with Academic Tutoring for $236,970 for the program, which will bring in experienced instructors for all three D209 schools. In 2019, the district paid only $84,355 for test prep programs, but this is a more focused and concerted effort to bring training to more students.

A presentation to the board during the meeting showed that across the district students who participated in SAT test prep activities did significantly better than those who did not, 126 points higher overall during the 2019 school year. Previously, individual schools have been involved in a variety of test prep activities, many interwoven into classroom activities and projects.

 During the meeting, board president Rodney Alexander said, “This is the direction we want to start going into aggressively when we talk about changing scores. Access is equity, and equity is opportunity.”