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School board wants ‘hard data’ about CHS advisory period

By Sun Advocate

School may be recessed for the summer, but administrators and staff are getting ready for the new year that starts in August. The Carbon County School Board too, has efforts it wants to see addressed.
At the board meeting on July 10, the board questioned Carbon High Principal Bruce Bean about the effectiveness of an advisory period the school has set up and has been running the last couple of years. Bean agreed that the school needed more hard data on the program.
The school cuts short each period on Mondays and the students have an extra period that day where they report to a classroom and then a few minutes after the class starts another bell rings that sends students who have written directives to a teacher they must confer with. Students who don’t have any kind of written statement then stay in that class and use it as a kind of study period.
“We have watched the trends and we believe it is doing some good,” said Bean. “Usually students do well in the first and third quarters overall.But the second and fourth quarters often have much higher rates of low grades. We have seen a decrease in the peaks that happen during those quarters.”
However the board, which has questioned the effectiveness of the period before, were not convinced. They want hard data and they want the school to have goals to reach toward concerning improvement.
“You need hard data on this,” said Board Member Kristen Taylor. “I think you actually have the data but need to address it.”
Bean agreed that the school did have data but that they just had not had time to examine and analyze it.
“I think you need to have some goals and how you are going to achieve those goals on this,” said Board President Wayne Woodward.
Bean pointed out that the program was an outgrowth of what was before and after school tutoring programs that used to be in place.
“We used to excuse school at 2:10 p.m. one day a week but when I analyzed it many students weren’t taking advantage of that time nor were they coming early in the morning to address their problems,” said Bean. “It worked for highly motivated students, but unfortunately not for everyone.”
Bean pointed out that the program was basically an advisory hour, not an intervention time. Board Member Melanie Fausett suggested that maybe the school ought to study the problems and look at interventions as well.
Some problems had arisen with the extra period last year and that is why the board is interested in how it is working. They felt that some staff members of the school might not understand what the period is really supposed to be used for. According to Board Member Jeff Richins he had heard that some teachers had pulled students out of the extra class to work on projects or activities.
Bean acknowledged that there had been some problems, but that the administration was addressing those situations. He said that the period needed to be sacred time and not be used for things other than advising students or for those that don’t need a lot of help a period to work on school work.
In the final analysis the board asked Bean to get with the faculty and come up with some ideas for moving ahead with the program. They also wanted some hard data on how things had improved. Bean agreed to address the board about it at the September board meeting.
Bean also mentioned that in a US News and World report on the best high schools in the United States Carbon ranked 1,628 in the nation, out of thousands of high schools.
“We were also ranked ninth in the state of Utah,” said Bean.
InTech Collegiate High School in North Logan was ranked first in the state.

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