New Programs To Aid Struggling Students

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Academic help is on the way at Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School for students struggling academically and for those who have been suspended from regular classes.

Academic casualties at RCMS will find the assistance they need in the new Varied Instructional Delivery program.

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Rim Country Middle School teacher Debbie Jones will probably be one of the VID program instructors when it begins second semester. Jones currently teaches math at RCMS.

Those students who have been suspended from either RCMS or PHS and want to continue a path toward graduation, are eligible to enroll in the new alternative program.

Both offerings begin second semester.

VID is open to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students who failed math or language arts the first semester.

According to RCMS principal Frank Larby, the roots of VID lie in a governing board meeting held about a year ago.

At the meeting, board members directed Larby to come up with a program that would boost students at risk of academic failure.

"We want to emphasize this is not for behavior problems," Larby said.

A committee headed by Larby spent most of last spring studying alternatives that would meet the board's directives.

The committee came up with VID which has since been approved by the school board.

Two RCMS teachers, Debbie Jones and Gail Hodge, have been chosen to teach the VID classes, pending board approval.

Students placed in the program will attend math or language arts classes each school day in two-hour blocks.

"That means they might have to give up an exploratory (class)," Larby said.

VID would also replace their mainstream math or language arts academic class.

The methods of instruction in VID would focus on using computer programs in class at a student's own pace, similar to what the Payson Center for Success employs.

The Payson Center for Success, which also incorporates computer learning, has proved to be an excellent alternative to traditional schooling.

Larby said it is his hope that VID will provide RCMS students the catalyst needed to be academically successful in math and language arts.

The VID will be expanded to the high school next year.

The RCMS/PHS alternative program will fulfill the requirements of a law that dictates schools must provide academic prerogatives for students suspended for the first time, and not for drug violations or assault.

A one-half day program will be provided for high school students and the other half-day will be directed at RCMS pupils.

Although VID and the alternative concepts are separate offerings both have similar roots. Originally three teachers were to be hired for VID.

When the state mandate for the alternative program was established, one teacher was taken from VID and assigned to the alternative program.

RCMS seventh-grade English teacher Louis Crabtree will be recommended to the school board as the alternative program instructor.

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