South Summit to offer school-day intervention
March 15, 2011
South Summit Middle School and High School students who are struggling with their classes will be able to receive one-on-one help from their teachers during the school day next year. A new class schedule will set aside 15 minutes of time in each class at the high school and 15 minutes each day at the middle school for students to receive intervention for their classes. The South Summit School District Board of Education approved the changes during its regular meeting last Thursday.
Principals from the high school and middle school met with administrators from the Wasatch School District to see how their intervention program has worked since it began about three years ago. "Mainly, students have an incentive to stay caught up in their classes and do their work," Wasatch High School Assistant Principal Tod Johnson said.
Students who haven’t missed assignments, are scoring well on tests and getting good grades get an extra 15 minutes to themselves twice each day. For those students who are struggling, they can meet with their teachers to get caught up or get any added help they may need.
"Our test scores have been going up consistently over the last three years,"
Johnson said. He also said there are other options for struggling students, but intervention is likely a factor that led to improving scores. South Summit administrators based many of their schedule considerations on visits made to Wasatch County schools, as well as others with a similar program, according to South Summit Superintendent Barry Walker.
South Summit High School
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Each Monday will begin with an hour-long meeting with teachers, from 7-8 a.m. Meetings will alternate throughout the month between faculty-only trainings and open time when parents can sit down with teachers to talk about their children’s needs. With the opportunity to meet with teachers bi-monthly, parent-teacher conference days would no longer be held. School will go from at 8:05 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. on Mondays.
Classes will move to an alternating block schedule Tuesday-through-Friday. Four classes will span the day and the last 15 minutes of two classes will be devoted to one-on-one tutoring for those students who need it. Intervention will alternate among the classes throughout the week. School will go from 7:50 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.
"If they are getting a C or better they are excused for their own time, those with a D or lower will receive intervention," North Summit High School counselor Becky Dees said. "It’s a positive reinforcement for the kids getting good grades."
Students who choose not, or are not required, to attend intervention are free to spend their time however they choose, Dees added. The high school is an open campus, so students would be able to leave the school if they choose.
Many students at Wasatch High School use the time to catch-up on homework or socialize with friends, according to Johnson. One particular student committed with a friend to stay caught-up on assignments so that they are able to meet up during their extra time during the day.
"We have had no problems with behavior for students who have come out of classes during intervention time," Johnson added. This is one of many things that we offer students who aren’t performing as well as expected."
"I wish they would have done it a year before," South Summit senior Brayden Powers said. Because Powers plans to graduate before the changes take effect next year, he won’t be able to take advantage of the time. He said it would have helped him catch up on things he missed due to sports teams on which he played.
South Summit Middle School
The dynamic of the middle school led Principal Wade Woolstenhulme to approach the new schedule differently. Similar to the high school, teachers will get together the first and third Monday of each month to discuss curriculum needs and coordinate efforts among the different classrooms. The second, fourth and any fifth Mondays will be open for parents and students to speak with their teachers before classes begin. School will run from 7:50 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Between fourth period and lunch Tuesday through Friday, students will either enjoy 15 extra minutes of lunch or they will be able to meet with teachers to catch up on work or get additional help. Woolstenhulme said administrators will come up with activities to keep those students not involved in intervention busy between fourth period and lunch. Students will likely stay in their fourth-period rooms rather than be out in the hallways.
"We don’t want that 15 minutes to be a waste of time for the students who don’t need help," Woolstenhulme said. "Sometimes kids just need to learn how to be responsible. They need to learn how to work hard no matter how good they are at math, English and science."
Interventions will focus on one subject each day of the week. Students needing science help will head to their classrooms for up to 45 minutes of help each Tuesday. Wednesday’s tutoring will focus on those who need additional help with math, while English and language arts will be taught during intervention each Thursday. History, as well as any elective help students may need, will be available each Friday.
"The main goal is to give some additional help to those who are struggling," Walker said. Based on what has taken place in Wasatch and other schools with similar programs, administrators hope to improve every student’s grades, not just the grades of those who are struggling, Walker added.