Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Academic Labs-Failure is Not an Option

The creation of academic labs benefit our students by giving them an additional opportunity to learn in the core areas. In 2010-2011, we experimented with what we have called labs.  During periods 2-6, all 7th and 8th grade students have TA (homeroom), Math, English, Social Studies, and Science.  All 7th graders are in Math/Science and all 8th graders are in English/Social Studies at the same time.  Then we had Academic Labs followed by the other half of the core classes where 7th and 8th graders took the other 2 core classes.  These Academic labs were created for enrichment and remediation. Students would rotate through the academic labs with their homeroom classmates.

10-11 Labs (over 4 days, all students would go to each lab)
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Science
  • Math
In 11-12, we modified our labs.  Labs are now right after TA.  Students are assigned a guided study hall or a lab depending on their academic need.  The High Ability Learners have an afternoon class that is designed to push them academically.  The labs now focus on enrichment and all students are invited to come to these labs but some students are assigned the lab.  Focus on math, reading, and writing is because our belief is that these are fundamental skills that students need to master to have a better understanding in all classes.  Students not assigned to labs are put in a guided study hall. These students do take advantage of the labs as needed based on either teachers recommendation or their own desire to get better at a  certain skill.
11-12 Labs
  • Guided Study Hall 
  • Reading/Writing
  • Math
Our focus has been to make sure that we create an environment where all students will succeed.  These labs give students additional support.  In the last 2 years, we have had one student fail one course.  This would have been unheard of prior to the 2010-2011 school year.  This was one of many reforms we have made in our school but I believe it to be an important piece of the puzzle.
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