East, Chaney double up on math, reading for freshmen
By Amanda Tonoli
East and Chaney high schools will be providing double math and reading periods in school to set up ninth-graders for success.
This “blocking” is providing students the opportunity for built-in enrichment and intervention, said East High principal Sonya Gordon.
“This is just going to help us close our [achievement] gap,” she said.
The school year will start with students taking an entry assessment to evaluate what they need, intervention or enrichment.
“This is truly meeting students where they’re at,” said Chaney High principal Bob Klinar.
From there, Gordon said it’s about growth.
“No one is going to be stagnant, each student will be moving forward in some way,” Gordon said.
Freshman blocking sets up students for success by starting first-year high-school students off with a solid foundation, Klinar said.
“It really factors into our focus on our ninth-grade academy,” Klinar said. “It’s truly about helping our students who are in transition.”
School district CEO Krish Mohip explained the ninth-grade academies are programs put in place to help foster better freshman student experiences.
The focus on ninth-graders comes from what Gordon said is one of the biggest predictors of what graduation rates will be.
“We want 100 percent of our ninth-graders to start out and be on track to graduate,” Gordon said. “And if they’re not, we will take the appropriate steps to get them there.”
Gordon added that it is the hope of herself and Klinar to incorporate the blocking practice into other high-school grade levels on an as-needed basis.
Gordon said if double math and reading class periods become an option for upper grade levels it will allow students to move through math quicker with two periods of Algebra II for one semester, then two periods of Pre-Calculus for the other.
Gordon said students aren’t losing out on time with electives.
“We aren’t taking them out of a music or an art class, but just asking them to use more time, maybe a study hall period, on those two areas,” she said. “We just needed a little more time to help us close that achievement gap, so we found time within the school schedule.”
Focusing on math and reading skills gives students the solid foundation they need, Gordon continued.
“Our goal is not to prepare students only for where they are, but for where they’re going,” she said.