Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trail principal outlines new academic program

August 27. 2013 5:09PM
BEN FREDA Abington Journal Correspondent

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FACTORYVILLE - At the Lackawanna Trail school board meeting, Aug. 12, high school principal John Rushefski talked about a new academic program called 12 Period Schedule, which he and assistant principal Dr. Mark Murphy created for students.

The program is designed to generate awareness for academic progress and give teachers multiple opportunities to speak with students about their grades.

“Dr. Murphy did a fine job putting together some plans for this,” said Rushefski.

“We’re looking for students to meet with a mentor in a setting of about one to 10, one to 12,” Murphy said in his explanation of the Academic Mentoring portion of the system. “They’ll be in groups , and they’ll meet once per week.”

Murphy said that the mentor will review their grades and challenge them.

“In addition to that, the mentor can refer them to the guidance department and to the administration,” stated Murphy. “And those entities can then refer them out for other intervention strategies such as academic support, academic detention, phone calls going home to make the parents aware of the situation.”

Murphy also mentioned that this is a more proactive approach to create other awareness. He also mentioned that this program will happen up to six times per marking period.

Rushefski explained that the Authentic Mentoring program came from Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19. He also said that one of the logical steps in this program is the 12 Period Schedule.

“We wanted this to really be something that’s going to be a lasting change,” said Rushefski.

Board member Dr. Michael Mould commented that this program has tremendous potential.

“We got a good chance to make that work,” Mould said. “But if we don’t try, we’ll never know.”

Rushefski reassured that the goal for Lackawanna Trail this year is to educate their staff.

“It’s a big plate,” Mould replied. “The faculty is going to have to do an awful lot of 25 to 30 minutes.”

Mould added that the program is still worth a shot.

Murphy assured the board that the program will have a significant impact on the students.

“Once we get past that week or two-week period of making sure everybody’s is the right place and all systems are go, then it really comes to the administrative team to make sure we’re supervising the faculty, who are supervising the students, and there’s actually productivity happening,” said Murphy. “We certainly don’t want this to become free time, unstructured time, or even study hall.”

In other business, the board unanimously approved a motion to appoint Keith Youtz as head wrestling coach at a stipend of $6,750.

In other news, the board unanimously approved Sarah Ruane as a volunteer volleyball coach, pending necessary clearances.

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