An integral part of YES Prep’s mission is to make sure that students are college-ready, which includes preparing them for the SATs. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, a traditional in-person teacher would not be an option, so Northside’s Director of College Counseling Bereket Worku looked for online resources and found SoFlo - a social enterprise that provides high-level online SAT test prep. He personally reached out to SoFlo founder Adam Shlomi and explained that a group of 30 seniors were in need of additional support in order to obtain desirable SAT scores. To Worku’s delight, SoFlo was more than happy to collaborate. “I loved Bereket’s energy. He cared so much about his students, and this was a great opportunity to use our expertise and help students,” Shlomi said.
SAT Virtual Prep
To help our students get the extra improvement they needed, Worku worked with SoFlo Tutors to organize a four-week SAT class in preparation for the SAT this October. The SAT class was aimed to build confidence and test knowledge of the YES Prep Northside seniors. The seniors followed a set syllabus to maximize classroom time and used homework as reinforcement. In addition, the class met with an instructor virtually for two hours lessons twice a week for four weeks to review core concepts, learn testing strategy, and take practice tests using SoFlo’s proprietary SAT curriculum.
Each week for the first three weeks of the program, the students focused on improving a different section of the SAT: English, Reading, and Math respectively. In their final week of class, the students reviewed their practice tests with an instructor to focus in-depth on the concepts that they were still struggling with. “I really appreciate how SoFlo is student-focused and puts students first. The instructors, Sofia and Adam, did a great job. They constantly sought feedback on how to improve the class and the overall student experience,” Worku said.
Meet Instructor Sofia Darsin
Sofia Darsin was chosen to teach the YES Prep class because of her experience working with students from underserved communities. Facing her own set of challenges growing up, Sofia had to work hard to succeed in school after she immigrated to the U.S. from South America when she was eight years old. Through hard work and determination, she graduated from the University of Florida and worked for AmeriCorps, helping struggling students get on track to graduate. Then, she continued her education with a master’s degree at the London School of Economics.
Because of her world-class education and first-hand knowledge of the challenges immigrants face, Sofia is adept at explaining tricky English concepts, helping students improve their reading comprehension, and teaching fundamental math skills. Sofia greatly enjoyed working with the students at YES Prep, expressing, “The students were so diligent and hard-working, and I was so proud. Our last class was so sad because I had become so invested in all of them, but they had accomplished so much. Each student had improved their scores on the practice tests by the last class,” Darsin said.
Taking full advantage of SAT prep
As expected, the Northside Pride came prepared and engaged for class every day, completing their homework assignments while keeping a high-level of engagement with their instructors. Many seniors used Khan Academy for extra practice and demonstrated an impressive work ethic by completing additional work outside of the scheduled assignments.
From the very first session, Darsin was impressed with how YES Prep students showed up, “The students were excited to be in the class and had many questions. I have worked in many schools, but YES Prep students were much more engaged than past students and made classes a pleasure.”
After a month of intensive studying, the Northside seniors were able to walk into the SAT test room with a new perspective. Thanks to all the countless hours preparing in September, students walked out of the test room feeling confident and prepared.
For now, those 30 seniors anxiously await to see their hard work pay off when the results of their exam are released in November. Every single student improved their SAT score from their initial diagnostic test to their last practice exam, so our expectations are high!
Going forward, SoFlo Tutors will continue to support college readiness for YES Prep students by providing a free, online video SAT course.