AHSneedle

Academic Opportunities Come to AHS

A new period will be added every day during the 2018-19 school year to help students in various classes.

Dallas+Center-Grimes+high+school+uses+a+academic+opportunities+period+with+their+students.+
Dallas Center-Grimes high school uses a academic opportunities period with their students.

Dallas Center-Grimes high school uses a academic opportunities period with their students.

Dallas Center-Grimes high school uses a academic opportunities period with their students.

Tayler Burg and Pluma Pross

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Change is coming to the school day this fall, as AHS will be implementing a new curriculum for the start of 2018-19 school year. This new program is called Academic Opportunities (AO) and will give teachers time to work with specific students on skill deficits or skill development in their particular class. According to principal Heather McKay, students can work on missing assignments or makeup or retake a quiz or test. The new period will be between periods two and three and seminar will be changed from Wednesday to Monday. After a student signs up for classes and the school year begins, a teacher can choose to pull the student into their class for that period if they feel the student needs help in their class. Each Monday, they can also choose a different class or activity to do during that time.

McKay said she has been looking at ways to do interventions throughout the school day. In the state of Iowa, a school is required to have a series of tiers of support for students. Teachers have found that the grade D and F list is too long throughout the school. “AO will also provide an opportunity for some enrichment activities such as Trojan Cafe, students taking an independent culinary class could…cook and sell their goods,” McKay said. Band teacher Jarrod O’Donnell also wrote for a grant from the Atlantic Community Schools Foundation to purchase guitars so he could teach students how to play during the AO period.  

During the Wednesday professional development time first semester the faculty was looking for ways to reach students which is how they came up with the idea of the AO period. They turned the idea to the committee along with vice-principal Matt Alexander and then visited the Dallas Center-Grimes school district, which has already implemented the AO period, to discuss the program with them. “We learned a lot from the mistakes they made and we are starting our AO time where their 6th (year of) AO time is at,” McKay said.

AHS will also be buying a program called “flexisched” to be used by teachers to schedule students according to their needs. Faculty will spend their time in professional development meeting as departments to decide which students they need to visit with and which days they would like that to happen for the following week.

According to McKay, the teachers have reacted “very positively” towards this new idea so far.

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Academic Opportunities Come to AHS