High school students redeem selves with lunch credit recovery

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By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Mason High School has recently added a Multi-Tiered System of Supports to help improve students’ academic performance.

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Trustee Laura Cheney questions the teacher consultants.

Matthew Stuard, district administrator for academic success, said at the April 21 board meeting that school improvement committees were formed in September.

Dean Thompson, a math teacher at Mason High School and Jeremy Mills, an English teacher at Mason High School, who are also teacher consultants, attended the April 21 school board meeting with Stuard to present their progress and goals as they move forward with student improvement.

Some ways Mason High School has initiated student improvement is through:

  • a students of the month breakfast, where students are recognized for their outstanding performance,

  • the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab, where members of the National Honors Society assist students who need additional help with school work,

  • a ACT test prep crash course, which prepares students for the ACT

,Stuard said that the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab was planned in accordance to the late bus system, so students who take the bus home can still stay after school for extra help.

Thompson added that students have the option to grab frozen drinks from the cafeteria during the study time, so they are given an incentive to attend the help lab.

Mills and Thompson spent several minutes explaining the Lunch Credit Savings Help Lab. This program requires the students to give up their lunch time so they can make up credits. This help lab gives the students one last chance to save themselves before they fail a course.

According to Stuard, students are eligible for the help lab if their final grade falls between a 50% and a 59%.

Stuard added that the credit recovery program is limited to core classes required for graduation and not elective classes, however, elective teachers can allow students to recover credit.

Mills said that they meet with teachers of students who failed a course and set up a make-up plan for the students. After the consultants receive approval from the teacher, Mills said they “get the student on board.”

Mills added that students who failed the first trimester make up the class during the second trimester, those who fail the second trimester make up the class during the third trimester.

Stuard said: “For this year, we’re not offering this opportunity to students who fail a third  trimester course with between a 50% and 59% because this would require students to return after school is out in June. However, in the future we may decide to expand this opportunity into the summer.”

Thompson said that so far, 61 percent of students who chose to redeem themselves actually recovered with this program. Thompson added that since the program has been so successful, they have opened it up to everyone. The program went from around 30 students to 114.

According to Stuard, credit recovery is a reactive program and they’re trying to become proactive so students don’t find themselves in a situation where they need to recover credit.

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Jeremy Mills, left and Dean Thompson, right, present their student improvement process to the school board.

Trustee Laura Cheney asked the consultants if they worry about students slacking more because now, they have a safety net. Mills replied with, “No student wants to spend their lunch time making up work … that’s no fun.”

“Perhaps in the future it will expand to the middle school, but we’re not there yet,” said Stuard.

Superintendent Mark Dillingham said it’s really important to fill the gaps between elementary school to middle school to high school. “It’s coming along and Matt has done a great job,” Dillingham said.

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