Hannibal School District helps students become college-ready


Left, Jason Nolan, principal of Hannibal High School, and Lacy Bennett, A+ Program and testing coordinator, propose one free ACT testing for each student to the Hannibal School Board. Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal Public School District is helping students become more college-ready. 

The Hannibal School Board approved a proposal at the board meeting Wednesday night to provide each student a free ACT test in their junior or senior year if they meet certain criteria. 

The ACT is a curriculum-based standardized test used for scholarship eligibility and college admissions at many universities in the United States. 

Jason Nolan, principal of Hannibal High School, and Lacy Bennett, A+ Program and testing coordinator, brought the proposal before the board. 

According to ACT.org The cost of the test is $60 without the writing portion and raises to $85 with the writing portion, which some colleges require. Bennett said students often take the test multiple times to get the best composite score possible–which is a cost that can add up.

“We want to remove financial barriers that students might have for attending postsecondary institutions,” Nolan said.

Bennett said multiple ACT testing gives students a chance to raise scores on specific areas of the test, also called a super score. The superscore the average of the best scores from each subject from multiple test attempts.

“I have a couple of students that are wanting to go to a technical school or a science and technology school, and they’re wanting their math scores to be really high. So they take it with the intention of improving their math score,” she said.

Nolan reported to the board members that 57 percent of students who took the test more than once improved their composite scores. He also said students benefit from taking the test during their junior year to prepare themselves to test again for a higher score.

“By taking the test early, students will have the opportunity to select courses to improve their academic skills as well as opportunities to retest in order to improve their composite scores to meet their individual goals for postsecondary education,” Noland said.

Students who are on the free and reduced lunch program can apply for a fee waiver on the ACT website, and students who are not will pay on the website and then bring in a receipt for reimbursement.

To qualify for the free test students must have:

  • Have successfully completed the Algebra I course prior to exam registration. 
  • Have a 90 percent cumulative attendance (9th grade-present). Nolan said this will be a requirement that could be reconsidered under special circumstances for absences.
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative GPA (9th grade to present).
  • Attend an ACT Preparation Course offered by Hannibal High School.
  • Have a current A+ agreement on file.

Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal Public School District, also announced at the meeting that two seats on the Hannibal School Board will be open for the April 2 election.

Both seats are three-year terms and currently held by Tysa Colemen and Justin Parker. They have not announced whether they will run again.

Interested parties can file for candidacy starting Dec. 5 until Dec. 26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hannibal Board of Education office at 4650 McMasters in Hannibal. 

There will be no filing during winter break on Dec. 22 through Dec. 25 or on days the office is closed due to inclement weather.

Those filing will appear on the ballet in the order in which they applied.

School board members must be:

  • A U.S. Citizen.
  • A resident taxpayer of the Hannibal Public School District.
  • A resident of the Hannibal School District and Missouri for a minimum of one year immediately preceding the election.
  • At least 24 years old.

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