Noteworthy This Week

The College Board recently announced a change in the basic schedule of test dates, the first such change in years. The January exam date will be eliminated in favor of a date in late August (this year's date is August 26, 2017). This news is significant, as this change alters long-term planning for test schedules.

On one hand, an August test opens the door for subject test preparation over the summer before senior year, alleviating the pressure to take them during either the spring semester of junior year, when students must concentrate on AP tests and finals, or the fall semester of senior year, when the focus should be on preparing applications.

On the other hand, the elimination of the January test limits a student's opportunities to get the SAT out of the way early. In order to avoid having an overlap of SAT, Subject Tests, and AP Exams, a student must achieve their desired score on the SAT using the tests in the fall semester of junior year.

This schedule change means planning ahead has become even more important than in past years. Nexus Academics is now recommending that families begin thinking about college applications and testing no later than the end of 10th grade to ensure that the process is not rushed. Starting the conversation then ensures that there is sufficient opportunity to diagnose a student's strengths, pick an appropriate test schedule, and prepare fully for the chosen tests.

If you are concerned about the implications of these changes for your family, please reach out. We are always glad to answer any questions you have about testing and the college application process!


Good Morning America reported an inspiring story this week. We often focus so much on what happens academically in a classroom that we forget the impact that personalization can have. It is this sort of centering that can change a kid's view of who teachers can be for them.

Barry White, Jr., a fifth grade English teacher at Ashley Park PreK-8 School in Charlotte, North Carolina, has an elaborate, personalized handshake with every one of his students. Every. Single. One.

“They know when they get to the front door we do our ‘good mornings,’ and then it’s time to go,” White told ABC News of his enthusiastic greetings. “I’m always pumped up and then we start doing the moves and that brings them excitement and pumps them up for a high-energy class.”

Each handshake is different, using custom moves inspired by the student’s personality.

“I started with one simple handshake last year with a 4th grader,” he explained. “She would wait for me every morning before she’d go to class. She’d get in trouble sometimes for being late because she’d wait on the handshake."

“This year I started making handshakes with the kids at recess. It was just one or two students and then it became contagious,” he added. “I saw how much it meant to them, so I said, ‘Come on. Everyone come on.’ Then it was my full class, then it was kids from other classes. Now I have 3rd graders wanting to do it too.”

Read more at Good Morning America