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Brooklyn Centre, Clark Fulton, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Education, Teens, Westown

College Now program aims to help CMSD students increase scores on ACT tests

by Chuck Hoven

Plain Press, December 2015 College Now Greater Cleveland’s ImpACT the 216 program is working to help Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high school students be better prepared to take the ACT test. The test measures college readiness and is used by colleges to select students for admission.

ImpACT the 216 offers an eight-week after school program primarily aimed at helping Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school juniors prepare to take the ACT test. The program is available at six sites, including three in the Plain Press service area: Esperanza at 3104 W. 25; Eastman Branch Library at 11602 Lorain Ave.; and South Brooklyn Library at 4303 Pearl Road.

College Now of Greater Cleveland staff member Maria Agosto says the next session of the eight-week program will begin on January 5th. Sessions are held five days a week from 3- 6 p.m. Food and snacks are served to participants.

Agosto says ImpACT the 216 helps students with test taking strategies, works with students to improve their math, English and reading skills, provides bus tickets, offers a $100 stipend, helps with college and career exploration – including field trips to colleges, and offers participants an opportunity to apply for an internship. Students participating in the program are pretested, and take a post-test at the end of the program to determine their progress.  Students also receive an ACT practice booklet and other materials to guide them in studying for the ACT.

Agosto, who will be working with students at the Esperanza site, says College Now hopes to recruit 29 students at that site. She anticipates that Cleveland Metropolitan School District students will sign up to the site closest to their homes. While high school juniors are the primary group that the program hopes to attract, Agosto says high school seniors who need additional help with ACT preparation are welcome as well. For more information and to apply students can go to the College Now Greater Cleveland website at:

In addition to the ImpACT the 216 program, College Now is present in all high schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. College Now spokesperson Laurel Wilder says the program helps high school seniors to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and apply for other grants to help with college expenses. Wilder says College Now maintains a scholarship database to aid students in their search. Wilder says while the national benchmark for college readiness is an ACT score of 21, College Now has found that students with a grade point average of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of 18 can start excelling in college.

Agosto, who also works with high school students at Lincoln West and the Thomas Jefferson Newcomers Academy, says the three College Now staff members at Lincoln West encourage students to take the ACT when it is offered, help students with their college applications, and even sometimes help to proofread student college essays.

Statistics provided by the 2014 Report to the Community of the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland indicate there is a great need for improving the college readiness scores of Cleveland students. While College Now of Greater Cleveland has found that students having an ACT score of at least 18 and a Grade Point Average of 2.5 or better can succeed in college given the proper assistance, the data provided by the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland shows that in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available) only 24% of CMSD graduates met that benchmark.

Editor’s Note: For more information about College Now of Greater Cleveland’s ImpACT the 216 Program call 216-241-5587 or email


About plainpress

Plain Press 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite #500 Cleveland, OH 44113 Email: Email Advertising: Phone: (216) 621-3060 Managing Editor: Chuck Hoven Editor: Deborah Rose Sadlon Advertising Representative: Ed Tishel


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