The Union Recorder

August 6, 2013

BHS new focus period to help boost student performance

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin High School students in need of remediation or assistance with particular subject areas will soon have the opportunity to focus on their individual learning needs during the regular school day as a way to boost student achievement, decrease failures and promote graduation on time.

The new “instructional focus” period will consist of a 50-minute block between first and second block each school day for all students in grades nine through 12.

“What we found was that students weren’t staying for fifth block after school and in view of the new ruling under CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index), we’re finding ourselves to put something in the middle of the day so all students will be able to participate,” said Principal Dr. Jessica Swain. “The instructional focus period will divide students up based on particular standards. Some will get assistance or remediation, particularly students failing. Some students will be doing End of Course Tests prep, and for those students who don’t really need remediation or test prep, they will be involved in an enrichment activity.”

The instructional focus enrichment period will allow teachers to introduce new instruction that “wouldn’t normally be allowed during the school day.” Instructional focus groups will rotate every few weeks based on student academic performance.

“We will come up with a list of classes teachers are willing to teach, for example, a guitar class or special chorus class. The committee will then give students a survey to choose their top three choices. This could also be a time for club meetings,” Swain said. “The incentive in this is that students in remediation and test prep will be doing so well as a result of the instructional focus period that they will work themselves up into enrichment.”

A committee consisting of the high school teachers is in the midst of developing a plan for the instructional focus period as well as coming up with standards for assigning students to a particular block.

“Hopefully in three to four weeks, teachers will have come together with a final plan and the instructional focus period will be implemented,” Swain said. “Our teachers really want to help students. It’s frustrating when students can’t or don’t stay after school and get what they need to be academically successful. The instructional period is a win-win for all students.”

Teachers will still hold fifth block in the afternoons for students in need of individualized help.

“Our number one goal is build each student’s grade up to where they’re successful and get to move to enrichment. We will begin the first round in December for End of Course Tests. The new CCRPI really changes how we do business and we have to look at other ways we can assist our students,” Swain said. “Under the new rules, we need students to make every effort to do their best on these tests, and we want to do everything we can to help them do their best. We want to use instructional focus to be the added support to them.”

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