Teachers are crediting a program at Century Middle School with helping students build their academic skills.
For students experiencing difficulties with academics and attendance, Hour 17 gives students extra help in English Language Arts and Communications classes while helping them build study and organizational skills. The courses use the same content and state standards as other English and Communications courses, but the pace is matched to students’ ability levels, said Amy Golberg, who teaches eighth grade. Each day, the courses also provide study and organizational skills.
Students in grades six and seven who are in the program have class with the same teachers their first and last hours of the day, said Kallie Bernier, who teaches seventh grade. Eighth graders end their day with the class.
Hour 17 was created through hard work by Century’s teachers who saw there were students who needed an extra boost, said Chris Endicott, Century Middle School principal.
“As educators, we have the privilege of working with students of differing abilities, experiences, passions, goals, likes and dislikes,” said Kelly Hillier, who teaches eighth grade. “This diversity is a blessing to embrace and can also be a challenge when it comes to identifying what students really need in order to succeed.”
On any given day, teachers will have both students who are on the edges of their seats ready to learn and others who appear frustrated, Hillier said.
“It is our job to help these students clear the clutter, find the spark, show the purpose and ignite the willingness to learn and be successful,” Hillier said.
Yasir Baig said as a seventh grader, Hour 17’s approach – including the organizational and study skills he’s gained – have helped him improve his grades and develop a love of English Language Arts. Previously, it was his least favorite subject.
“Reading was just hard, hard work and each year it kept getting harder and harder and therefore I liked it less and less and would avoid reading altogether,” Yasir said, adding he began avoiding reading. “What I didn’t realize is reading is a part of every class and a huge part of your life.”
Now in eighth grade, Baig credits the skills he developed in Bernier’s class with his academic success.
“I learned how to handle challenges and most importantly, I became motivated,” Baig said, adding the immediate feedback and learning through discussion helped him learn.
Given the number of smiles, hands raised and attendance, Bernier said she thinks the class is helping many students succeed.