Intervention Programs Attempt to Stem Failures

Central is intervening in a number of ways to help students pass classes.

By Blake Bush

Since the pandemic, Central students have been receiving failing grades more often than ever before. To remedy this, Central’s administration has hired new teachers and encouraged new programs specifically to figure out why students are failing and to get them back to passing.

“We’re trying to find the kid’s who’ve had trouble and give them the extra help they need,” said James Fallon, a new intervention specialist at Central. Fallon and his coworkers Mr. Riley and Mrs. Bilton were all brought on around the same time in January for the explicit purpose of intervening with students at risk of flunking. They focus not only on remedying current failing grades but preventing future ones.

Central already had systems in place for dealing with failed or missing credits, though. Credit recovery was, until recently, the most common way for students to make any missing required credits, using a site called Edgenuity. “I think they’re trying to move away from computers, and give kids something closer to the classroom experience,” Fallon explained.

Seniors are also not exempt from the wave of failures at Central, but history teacher Rhoda Bryan has introduced a new program called “Support Our Seniors” that is exclusively for students at risk of not graduating. This program finds mentors on staff to help that student personally through weekly meetings and parent communication. The program also focuses largely on student advocation, and 34 mentor teachers have applied to Bryan’s program. “The door is always open for more,” Bryan said.

“The point is to tell them that their grades really matter now,” freshman intervention specialist Gretchen Bilton said, “and to keep them out of credit recovery, so that they can have a smoother transition from middle school to high school.” This, in essence, is exactly what the intervention specialists and support programs are for, and they are continuing to help students get their academics back on track.

Photo: “Bad Grade” by Robert Hruzek on Flickr