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Mercy First with ACT for 4 Years, All Classes

October 30, 2017
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School will be one of the first high schools in the Omaha area to offer ACT preparation for all students in every grade for four years. Thanks to a grant from American National Bank, OnToCollege with John Baylor will be offered at the school. To jumpstart the program, juniors will participate in ACT prep in the spring with the full program rolled out to all classes starting in the fall of 2018 for the next four years.

One of the biggest stepping-stones to the future is preparing students to take standardized tests, like the ACT. These tests are not only key factors for college admissions, ACT scores are used for merit-based scholarships and financial aid. Of course students who go on to college get more opportunities for better paying jobs and career choices. However ACT prep is costly and time consuming, often roadblocks for some families whose daughters still want to go to college. With over a third of Mercy families qualifying for free and reduced lunch, higher scores on the ACT not only makes college possible—it will lower the ultimate debt that young women will have after college.

“Mercy is committed to college-preparation, academic excellence and assuring that any deserving student can attend our school no matter her financial means. This new effort echoes that commitment assuring that excellent ACT test prep is available to everyone,” said Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM, President.

The OnToCollege program was chosen not only because it typically sees a 1-3 point increase in average school-wide scores, it has a flexible delivery system which allows for differentiation in learning, and a progressive, four-year approach that produces results within the daily school schedule. The program also provides study skills and college counseling modules—vital support for students who are transitioning into Mercy where there is a rigorous academic curriculum.

“Mercy’s educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that as educators we must nurture the growth of the full human person, empower our young women to reach their full potential and provide the environment and tools that will assist us in our efforts. This program will have a tremendous impact on students’ futures and the Omaha community,” said Sarah Regan, Principal.

Providing the funding for the program is American National Bank, an institution whose mission closely aligns with the school—both focusing on the betterment of the community and its citizens.

“American National Bank believes in Mercy’s educational philosophy of inclusivity and is privileged to provide all students—including those who might not have the financial resources—the opportunity to reach their higher education goals,” said Wende Kotouc, Executive Co-Chairman.

About OnTo College: Their mission says, “We help schools and families create two-and four-year college graduates with minimal debt. “