With a little guidance

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Students today are assessed on many academic areas but reading seems to be one that state officials take a long, hard look at. For some students, reading is difficult. It is not uncommon for students to receive extra guidance while in the lower grades. Schaller-Crestland School is proud to share that they, among other schools, offer innovative assistance to the high school-age students.

The program is directed by Kelly Wiener, high school reading teacher and At Risk coordinator. She commented that the administration is good about seeing the need to provide help for the high school students. Students are tested and those who show that there is a need for additional help, are placed in "level reading" classes.

The classes are nothing to be embarrassed about, she stresses. The classes are conducted during study halls.

"These classes have allowed us to provide more success in their future," she sated.

While in other study halls silence is golden - to allow students to complete their work - the guided reading periods are often abuzz with questions from the students, and individual assistance is provided.

Schaller Crestland administrators and faculty members, Wiener said, "have taken the stand that failure is not an option."

Several tactics are used to help the students improve their reading abilities. Students involved in this new program are taking every advantage given to them and the faculty is pleased with the results. That success is carrying over into the classrooms, teachers have said.

Assignments are tracked more carefully so that the students can keep on top of things and not fall behind, and individual assignment books are examined in the guided study hall.

"This is truly a success center and it is inspiring to see how well the students are managing their time by working on their assignments."

In addition to the guided reading classes, the school offers guided study halls, something seen in other districts as well. Based on information gathered by the high school reform team, the program will soon take another step.

During the last period of the day next year, all students will have a guided study hall, led by teachers, not associates. Students who have questions for teachers in any subject will be allowed to go to the that study hall for one-on-one guidance.

"We're hoping that once information is re-explained, with quicker response to questions, we can move on instead of stalling out," Wiener said. Scheduling for the teachers will be a task but, "the effort will be well worth it," she added.

It is also hoped that students who are not having difficulty will take the initiative and help out, as tutors for their classmates.

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