Students Working During Spring Break To Improve Grades

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About 100 students at Rim Country Middle School will work mornings during a week of spring break to improve bad grades.

Students failing a class, or who have a “D,” are recommended by teachers to attend the one-week intersession to make up missed work and get those grades up.

This is the third academic intersession, and attendance has quadrupled since the first 25 students embarked on the experiment.

However, Principal Gary Witherspoon said the number of kids failing classes is actually decreasing. More people are just taking advantage of the opportunity.

Also, Witherspoon said the program was expanded from servicing solely failing kids to students who have Ds. “We want them to have a ‘C’ or better,” said Witherspoon.

From the first semester’s end to the year’s halfway point, the total number of “Fs” dropped by 25 percent to 77. Witherspoon said the number of students failing dropped by 8 percent. The school has about 600 students from sixth- through eighth-grade.

“I think that some teachers are realizing that, hey, this is a good opportunity for remediation for these students,” said Witherspoon.

Teachers recommend students for the break’s study session, but if a student improves his grade, he doesn’t have to go — “which is a great incentive,” said Witherspoon.

The session is voluntary. Parents must agree, and are also responsible for transportation.

Intersession is one part of the middle school’s effort for students to improve grades. The school recently began the MASH program, which stands for Mandatory After-School Help. Kids who failed to turn in homework that day must attend and complete their work.

Four teachers will work the academic intersession, for which the GEAR UP grant helped pay.

GEAR UP aims to increase the number of students who attend college. The money is funding GEAR UP coordinator Kristi Ford to follow this year’s group of eighth-graders through their senior year of high school. She began last year.

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