Mrs. Kotar, Administrator, and Mr. Jepson, Dean of the High School, attended the 2008 Western Region College Board Forum in Newport Beach from February 25-27. The conference gave Mrs. Kotar and Mr. Jepson the opportunity to hear presentations from other educators about the challenges facing college preparatory schools like St. John’s as well as to meet representatives from California colleges and universities.
The College Board is well known as the organization responsible for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), the Advanced Placement tests (AP), and the College Scholarship Service (CSS). There were several workshops that explained the latest findings and issues in these areas in addition to a “College Fair” where admissions officers displayed information about their schools to high school administrators.
One of the more interesting presentations was the Keynote speech by Dr. David Conley of the Education Policy Improvement Center on the topic of College Readiness. He spoke about the importance that a college degree will have for young people in the 21st century and about the need for high schools to ensure that their graduates are genuinely prepared for the academic demands of higher education. Dr. Conley expressed his concern that too many graduates of public secondary schools were not really ready for college. Learning facts alone was not enough, Dr. Conley said; the real key to college success was “cognitive strategies,” or thinking skills.
Mrs. Kotar and Mr. Jepson picked up important insights into the current state of secondary and higher education at the conference and also were encouraged to hear confirmation that the academic program at St. John’s is essentially the right one for college-bound Orthodox students.