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The school plan to prepare students for the I-STEP Starting Feb. 28

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By Macayla Jones

Online Editor

Students often wonder or try to figure out if they are on track. Most don’t have a clue of how many credits they are supposed to have to advance to the next grade level or graduate. Students must have at least 10 credits in order to advance to sophomore year, whereas junior year requires students to have at least 20, and upcoming seniors need at least 30 credits. Students also have to pass their Algebra 1 and English 10 ECA to meet the graduation requirements. IPS dropped the former foreign language requirement — two credits, so students no longer need 42 credits to graduate.

 

Core 40 credit requirements have not changed. Students have the ability to earn 14 credits each year.

 

Tech offers tutoring for students after school in the library for those who need extra assistance if they are having a tough time with classwork. Students will also have computer access to work on Edgenuity for online classes and ECA requirements. There are currently 147 seniors who haven’t passed the ECA: 91 in English and 56 in Algebra 1. Those students are required to take a math or English lab class, where they are placed with similar students having similar struggles, and they are enlightened and assisted step by step with similar work they will see on the ECA.

 

“We are also working to identify which students need help in which areas so we can support them. The Pivot test is a predictor assessment, meaning it should give us an idea on how students will do on the ISTEP. That was our last opportunity to fill any gaps we see in our instruction before the big test,” Tech Principal Julie Bakehorn said.

The first section of the “big test” is ISTEP during the week of Feb. 27-March 3,

 

“Last year’s ISTEP results were recently released and Tech’s school grade was a D and only 4 points away from being a C school if we had four more students graduate,” Bakehorn said.

 

To improve the school grade, the administration is focusing on three programs: Capturing Kids Hearts (CKHs), PLCs and SIOP. Capturing Kids Hearts is a program that is put in place to help teacher-student relationships. Teachers are to create a social contract with their class, meet students at the door and shake their hands.

 

“I believe it is OK to open up to some teachers but not all teachers, but I am a firm believer in reaching out to those that want to help, but at the same time it’s… you know. Maybe it’s just me,” student Damon Brookins said.

 

The school’s culture climate goal is to reduce in-school (ISS) and out-of-school suspensions (OSS) by 10 percent each semester. According to Dean Lisa Williams, the numbers are much less this past semester.

Assistant Principal Eric Floyd said implementing Capturing Kids Hearts is a major part of this process.

“It is another way of correcting instead of just kicking kids out. Students really are happier in the classroom with teachers,” Floyd said. “Because the teachers are hearing them. It takes time and teachers are doing great work.”

 

Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) is Bakehorn’s second initiative to improve instructional strategies.

“This means instead of always standing in front of the class and lecturing, we are working on trying new ways to teach students,” Bakehorn said.

 

Student Leonna Huddleston said these new strategies are helping teachers and students connect.

 

“I think SIOP is a good thing because it makes the students feel more comfortable with the teacher, and something as simple as getting a handshake at the door makes a student feel more comfortable with the teacher rather than them not interacting at all. The teachers are also more mobile in the classroom, such as going around and talking to students, instead of sitting behind a desk the whole time.”

Another key component of Bakehorn’s instructional improvement plan is Professional Learning Communities or PLCs.

 

“English 10 and Math teachers have been in Professional Learning Communities PLC trainings with district and building coaches on the ISTEP. Teachers are integrating the past released items into their classrooms and non-ISTEP teachers are targeting specific skills within their classrooms as well,” Bakehorn said.

 

Teachers with the same subject/grade level classes collaborate after school twice a month to assess students’ needs and performance.

 

“I think PLC’s are important because it gives a safe space for teachers to construct new ideas to help further students education,” English teacher Alison Haag said,

 

During the PLCs, teachers also create and share lessons and strategies in a variety of subjects.

 

“I think PLC’s are important because it gives a safe space for teachers to construct new ideas to help further students education,” English teacher Alison Haag said.

 

“It’s new and we are getting used to it. We are trying to figure out how it is going to work and we are getting used to it so we can improve our students’ achievement,” math teacher Timothy Jones said. “It’s a chance for teachers to share the way they are teaching.”

 

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The Student News Site of Arsenal Technical High School
The school plan to prepare students for the I-STEP Starting Feb. 28