Tribune-Courier News Reporter
Instead of sleeping in on a recent Saturday eight North Marshall Middle School students spent their morning in class in hopes they could improve their grades enough that they might not have to repeat their current grade.
Principal Aimee Lepisto and Assistant Principal Lori Phillips spearhead the effort with the help of other teachers who each volunteer their time.
“The students that are eligible for Saturday School are the students with D’s or F’s or have failed to turn in multiple assignments,” she said. “Saturday School isn’t necessarily a punishment, but is meant to be a strong deterrent because no child wants to give up their Saturday morning – just like we don’t want to retain them in the same grade the next school year.”
Last year when Saturday school was in its beginnings the school was able to provide a bus to pick up students, but because of the growth of the program they are no longer able to provide a route.
“If we were to provide a route now some students would have to be getting on the bus at 5:30 in the morning and that’s not realistic,” she said. “We just have a lot more kids coming now. Sometimes we even have parents calling to ask if their children can come just so they can have the individualized attention that they might not get otherwise.”
Lepisto said Saturday School was started in order to help students master the content – she said it was important the faculty find out what motivates each student.
“Sometimes it’s maturity that holds a student back,” she said. “Sometimes it’s the amount of instruction time they have in a day. There are a number of variables and sometimes the key is figuring out what those are.”
Lepisto said 10 students used the program last year, which was set up as an experiment. This spring she said they’ve already had more than 25 students use the program.
“It’s not necessarily students with F’s, but students looking for additional help,” she said. “We reinstated Saturday school because we don’t want any of our students to have to repeat a grade.”
Failing a core subject (math, science, reading, English or social studies) will result in retention the next school year. Failing an enrichment class will result in repeating that six-week class.
Saturday School is also planned for March 22, 29, April 19, 26 and May 3.