Aztec High is one of 12 schools this year to be recognized by the New Mexico ACT Council for its work in increasing student turnout and the levels of achievement and college readiness.
Principal Warman Hall said the staff and students were very excited to be recognized for the hard work they have put into preparing for the college admissions and placement test.
"We're very elated," Hall said. "It's a great honor for our hard working teaching staff and the staff that does our ACT prep program. A great honor for those (students) that have worked hard for the ACT and raised their scores."
Test scores and the number of students across a five year period were evaluated by the ACT Council, with the composite scores of students being calculated to determine if the scores increased, decreased or stayed the same and the number of students taking the test increased.
The ACT Council is made up of secondary and post secondary educators advising the ACT Inc. on the programs and services in New Mexico schools and colleges.
The other two schools along with Aztec High which achieved the College Readiness award two years in a row are Dulce High School in Dulce and the Southwest Secondary Learning Center in Albuquerque.
"I attribute a lot to the kids who changed focus and saw the importance," Assistant Principal Grant Banash said.
Banash was the leader of the SAT prep program before he took on his current position last year. He said he is glad to see the students understand the importance of college preparation in high school.
"I've had the students take it (ACT prep course) more than once to increase their scores," Banash said. "That's beneficial to them and it shows a desire for them to better in school."
In 2012, more than 75 percent of New Mexico students took the ACT, which is the predominant college admission and readiness achievement in the state.
Hall believes the biggest contributor to the school's growing success in the ACT scores comes down to their prep program they run throughout the school year.
"We actively recruit and push kids to take on the opportunity," Hall said. "We go over test strategies using old questions used on the ACT and also run a prep assessment to see if students might need to bone up on something specific."
Each session is nine weeks long, allowing juniors and seniors four chances to enroll during the school year.
The prep program, with the permission of the ACT college board, has been allowed to give practice exams, which helps the students achieve a better understanding of the test.
"The kids respond well when they take the test at the high school," Hall said.
As for keeping the streak alive, Hall was excited for the challenge of maintaining the growth of increasing number of students testing and the composite score.
"It is the right kind of pressure," Hall said.