October Spotlight—Kalyn Hollatz, Miami East High School, Casstown, OH
Method Test Prep Spotlight seeks to highlight MTP clients, friends, and acquaintances who are doing amazing things in education. For each installment of the Spotlight, we will select a dedicated individual or organization to profile, and will then interview the awardee to share their story. Through the Spotlight, we hope to develop a bank of successful experiences and practices for other schools and educators to learn from.
In search of a subject for our October Spotlight, we looked for inspiration from some of the schools where Method Test Prep users tried to run the wheels off our self-paced ACT/SAT prep program. The bar, it seems, is raised each school year, as educators around the country continue to find newer, more innovative ways to use MTP in their classrooms. Even so, there are those who distinguish themselves. The staff at Miami East High School in Casstown, Ohio has managed to achieve extraordinary student engagement with the program. Kalyn Hollatz, Miami East’s English department chair, is leading the charge.
For the past 13 years, Ms. Hollatz has been teaching English to Miami East’s juniors and seniors. In making Method Test Prep’s self-paced program an integral part of her classroom curriculum, Hollatz has helped her students achieve astounding ACT score improvements. To boot, she has also become more efficient in the classroom—a necessity, given that she has a 6-class course load that includes 4 college credit-level classes.
We’ve long advocated for teacher involvement with MTP. This is because we’ve found that, more than any other factor, teacher participation ensures large-scale student success in using the program. All the while, we’ve been sensitive to teachers’ limited time, well aware that jam-packed curricula can make introducing additional instructional tools quite difficult. Despite the challenges this presents, teachers like Ms. Hollatz continue to prove that MTP belongs in the classroom.
Hollatz shared that she must always carefully balance the time she takes preparing lessons with the time she spends grading assignments. While she continues to use traditional paper-and-pencil ACT practice exams in the classroom, she finds that our program’s rapid reporting features allow her to hone her instruction to the class as a whole and to individual students’ needs. The real-time data analysis provided in MTP’s reports allows her to quickly distinguish the types of questions her students are missing, and then to build custom quizzes to reinforce the associated skills. Hollatz says that with the program, her students’ ACT English and Reading section score improvements are more significant than they were before she made MTP a regular part of her classroom work. Some of her students have reported single-section score improvements as high as 6 points!
Results like these provide strong evidence for the program’s effectiveness, and serve as significant motivators for Miami East’s students. Last year, 130 Miami East juniors and seniors used the program, logging in over 1,500 times and answering nearly 28,000 questions. Many students enjoy the feedback the program provides; likewise, they appreciate knowing where they stand on each section of the ACT. Ms. Hollatz notes that they also find the program’s timer feature useful in learning how to manage their pace on each section of the test.
What makes Ms. Hollatz’s success particularly notable is her methodical but relatively rapid approach to extracting all she could out of the program. She began using MTP in the 2016-2017 school year, and at the time stuck mostly to the initial evaluations and full-length exams. Now, only 4 years later, Hollatz is incorporating more sophisticated features—like our custom quizzes—and our review (“cram”) packets. Our point? The most important step in getting great results with MTP’s self-paced program in the classroom is the first one—the decision to begin using it in even a modest capacity. From there, educators like Ms. Hollatz can build great things.
More About Kalyn:
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I enjoy interacting with students and preparing them for their lives beyond high school. I love to watch them grow as young adults and hear about where life takes them after they graduate. It’s amazing to play a part in their development as not only students, but people who will be active and engaged citizens.
Q: Do you have a job related memory or event that stands out as particularly rewarding?
A: One of the most rewarding memories I have is from a photo of an alumna’s cap at her college graduation. On her mortar board, she had handwritten the names of people who helped her arrive at that moment in her life. I was honored to see my name there.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I like to make time to read and write for myself. I am currently writing a nonfiction manuscript.
Q: How do you like to spend your summers or vacation time?
A: My husband, Daniel, and I like to travel with our daughter to see family and enjoy climates outside of Ohio.
Thanks again to Kalyn Hollatz of Miami East High School for being a shining example of great things happening in education!
If you would like to nominate an individual or organization working with MTP to be considered for a Spotlight Award, please send an email to email@example.com with the subject line Spotlight. Please also share this story with people in education as well as with parents and other interested parties!