Changes across board at high school

S tudents at Granville High School will return to find a variety of changes, affecting everyone from seventh-graders to seniors.

Principal James Donnelly said many of the changes were a result of surveys done of part of the “school in need of improvement” status the school was placed on as a result of low standardized test scores last year. Donnelly said other changes were driven by teachers who got together to plan ways to improve the school day for students in their specific grades.

“We have gotten a great amount done this summer,” said Donnelly, who started last year as an interim principal and quickly took the position permanently. “The changes are going to be apparent.”

While some of the changes are not a direct response to Regents and standardized test score issues, many of them should have an impact on test scores, Donnelly hopes.

During the SINI surveys, junior high students said they sometimes felt intimidated by older students.

“We wanted to create a less stressful environment for them,” Donnelly said of the decision to give all seventh- and eighth-graders the same lunch period, separate from older students. “This will help them make the transition as a group,” he said. Donnelly said the gym will also be open during the junior high lunch period, “so they can blow off some steam if they need to.”

The junior high students will also, for the first time, have a dedicated “adviser-advisee” period where all 10 junior high subject-area teachers will be available for meetings, reteaching and other discussions.

“The kids said they didn’t have a chance to meet with their teachers when they had questions,” Donnelly said. “This gives us a chance for academic intervention.”

The teachers also share a common planning period at a time students have non-academic classes.

“The teachers will be able to collaborate better, and if they need to pull a student out so they can meet with him, or even meet with him and his parents, they can do that.”

 

At the other end

Seniors will also see something new, as a result of a collaboration among teachers Susan Hosley, Christine Cook, Marc Lambert, Dave Cosey and Jim Marsfelder.

The students will be taking part in a “senior seminar” that will include topics such as how to apply to college, how to decide whether to take out college loans, how to handle credit cards, job preparation and developing a working knowledge of computer programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

“We’re going to be working across the curriculum with this,” Donnelly said. “For instance, Chris Cook will be teaching economics. She might ask students to compare going to college and going directly into the work force. They would need to research that, and determine the most accurate websites, then they would use PowerPoint or Excel to analyze and present the data.”

Donnelly said he feels that “the biggest danger for our seniors, other than drugs, is diving into that shark tank environment of the financial world.” He said students will learn about student loans and credit-card issues. The teachers developed the program using grant funds.

Meanwhile, Donnelly said, the ninth-grade teachers are working together on a transition program to high-school level classes.

“We need to prepare these students for the realities of high school.”

 

Making connections   

Another major change is that in many instances, teachers who are doing social studies and English will be teaching back-to-back periods – in some cases in adjoining rooms.

“That way, if they want to go to a block period, make it one long period, they can,” Donnelly said.

He said the school is in the process of creating a math lab for students who need additional math help, will have math teachers available to help students in all but one period and is also developing academic-intervention programs during fifth period for students who need help raising their Regents scores.

Sondra Smith joins the staff as a guidance counselor, bringing the school back to its former complement of three. Sarah Barsukoff will teach chemistry and physics, Dan Lloyd will be in special education, and there will be three new social studies teachers – Sara Best Twardy, Michele Bromley and Kate Becker.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poultney Earth Fair Wednesday, April 22

IMG_1984

7th graders choose Earth Fair theme By Joshua Bassett The eighth annual Poultney Earth Fair is going to be different […]

Northshire Freepress – 04/17/15

Lakes Classifieds – 04/17/15

North Country Freepress – 04/17/15

Weekender – 04/17/15

Classifieds 04/15/14

Golden Horde teams to grace hall of fame

1930 Football Team

By Derek Liebig A pair of fabled gridiron teams from Granville’s past will be enshrined in the Capital Region Football […]

Eleven petitions out for Whitehall Board of Education

Board of Ed 2014

By Dan King A tumultuous school year has prompted a record number of candidates to seek seats on the Whitehall […]

Fans fawn over Mick Foley

DSC_1051

By Dan King While his act in the ring may have been barbaric, the mood of Mick Foley’s meet-and-greet in […]

Hope Ludwig to have photo in Hyde Collection

Hope Ludwig Photo

By Derek Liebig An aspiring young photographer from Granville is among a select group of high school students who will […]

Granville tennis opens with win

Granville’s tennis team opened its season Monday afternoon with a win over Whitehall. The Horde swept both doubles matches and […]

New beverage store taking shape

Beverage Store Photo

By Joshua Bassett Lori Linendoll, a co-owner of The Beverage Warehouse, walked through the building, stepping around paint canisters and […]