The 2017-2018 “GBHS Program of Studies” book may include a new course, Freshman Academy, to help some ninth graders learn time management and organizational skills, Great Bend High School Principal Tim Friess said. The course is being considered by the curriculum steering committee.
The program of studies book is revised every year and the first draft of the 2017-2018 book was presented to the school board on Monday. The final version will be presented to the board in January for a second reading and approval.
Friess said the Freshman Academy class being considered would reach up to 30 students in two sections. It would be based on the students’ grades and Aimsweb assessment scores, and on teacher recommendations. It would not be a required course, but would be strongly recommended to students who might struggle in the transition from middle school to high school.
“The research shows if students struggle their freshman year they’re more likely to drop out in their junior or senior year, or even before that,” Friess said. This class attempts to change that. “It’s not an English class but it would have reading and writing skills. This is a class I probably should have proposed 10 years ago.”
Kansas Communities That Cares survey
Assistant Superintendent John Popp said students in grades 6, 8 and 10 will be taking the Kansas Communities That Care student survey in December and January. The survey is conducted each year and gages all types of potential risk behaviors — from drug use to suicide indication, and positive indicators as well. Board members and parents should be reassured that it is completely anonymous.
“There is no way to link an individual student with an answer,” Popp said. “There are factors that we want to be aware of and honest about so we can attack them head-on.”
The data helps county agencies get funding for community supports for juvenile justice, mental health and community health.
This is also the time of year when students are taking tests to benchmark their levels in various areas, such as math a reading.
“This is a very busy week for getting data,” Popp said. Aimsweb tests are being done at elementary schools and MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) at the high school. The SRSS IE (Student Risk Screen Scale - Internalizing and Externalizing) evaluates behavior district-wide. All of this data will be used to adjust the intervention groups in schools, Popp said.