San Juan High School to adjust class schedule
Dec 23, 2009 | 7418 views | 0 0 comments | 1238 1238 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Juan High School will ring in the New Year with a new daily class schedule, which will introduce a 30-minute study hall period aimed at helping students succeed.

The schedule still accommodates seven class periods, while making time for a new study hall/intervention period, all within the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day.

The new schedule was created by shaving three minutes from each class, reducing them from 50 to 47 minutes. In addition, one minute was taken from between-class passing times, and lunch period is reduced by seven minutes. The new schedule will not negatively impact concurrent enrollment classes.

Throughout the school year, San Juan High faculty and administration has worked in teams to improve school climate and ensure all students are learning and reaching their potential. The new class schedule is a direct result of those efforts.

“The scheduling team identified that a major hindrance to student success is that there was no time built into the regular school day to help struggling students. In the past, students who needed extra help have had to make the effort to meet with teachers before or after school, and many students were not willing or able to do that,” said Chase Alder, SJH teacher. “Students fall further behind and it’s very difficult to catch up.”

At midterm of the first term this school year, 53 percent of students were failing at least one class. One week before the end of the term, it was 41 percent. At the end of the term, 20 percent of students had a failing grade.

The statistics show that far too many students are falling behind throughout the term and then scrambling to catch up and get a passing grade in the last week, while many students are unable to get caught up at all.

“As San Juan High faculty and administrators, we’re not satisfied with the number of students who are failing a class,” said Principal Bob Peterson. “Our goal is to provide time during the regular school day where we can intervene with students who are struggling and get them on track to success. We believe this approach will significantly reduce the number of students who receive failing grades each term.”

Students will be assigned to a study hall class taught by teachers of non-core subjects. Students who are failing a core math, English, or science class will be identified by their teacher and will be pulled from the study hall class into small-group intervention sessions led by core teachers with peer tutor assistance.

During this time, the teacher will provide students with the specific help they need in order to succeed in the class.

Students with passing grades will use the 30-minute study hall for academic tasks, such as completing homework, studying for tests, and getting one-on-one help from teachers. An ACT prep class will also be offered.

Students will be expected to stay on task and utilize study hall time wisely. Students do not receive letter grades for study hall, but attendance and participation is mandatory.

SJH faculty members support this new initiative and believe that it will benefit all students, not just those who struggle with their coursework. Students will receive 2.5 hours of additional study time each week, freeing up more after-school time for extracurricular activities and family time.

As the program develops, opportunities for grade enhancement, higher-level learning, and college prep activities will likely be added. The new schedule also has the support of the Community Council and School District administration.

“I want to stress that the introduction of the study hall and intervention period is not a punishment for either those who are failing or those who are passing. It is simply an opportunity to catch academic problems while they are still relatively small and easy to fix, while also providing all students with more in-class time to complete assignments and get ahead with their schoolwork. We want to focus on intervention rather than remediation,” Peterson said. “The new schedule is a work in progress, and may require some tweaking in the future, but we are very excited about this change, and ask that students and parents will be patient and supportive of this endeavor.”

A letter has been sent to SJH parents with detailed information and a breakdown of the new schedule. If you have any questions, please call the High School at 678-1301.
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