During the 2016-17 school year, there were 79 students who failed at least one class during the first semester alone.

That, said Rick Jorgensen, RVHS principal, is unacceptable.

Recognizing the need for something to be done, Jorgensen started researching ideas and learned about a program being utilized in the Minnetonka school district.

It offered time during the school day to help with the remediation attention those students needed.

Jorgensen, who talked about the initiative with the Redwood Area Board of Education at its meeting this past Monday night, said for many students the challenge is in finding the time to make up work they have missed or to catch up when they are falling behind in their classes.

“Some of our students ride the bus and don’t get to school early enough in the morning, and then after school have to rush to the bus to go home,” said Jorgensen, adding other students are involved with activities before and after school that keep them from finding the time.

Jorgensen said the Minnetonka school district developed what is known as Minnetonka Academic Success Time and created a period at the beginning of one day each week when students who are in need of remediation would come in and get that help.

Under that plan, students who need the time are getting it during the first period of their school day. 

Jorgensen, who spoke with teachers about the idea, heard loud and clear that educators did not want to give up any teaching time during the day.

So, he began developing a different program called the Cardinal Academic Success Time (CAST), which will be offered one day per week. On that day it will replace homeroom for those students who need help in addressing potential failing grades.

Jorgensen explained during the week students who need help will be “invited” to CAST and will then have the opportunity to work and get more one-on-one attention as they try and catch up in areas where they are falling behind.

“The students will be required to go to CAST time, and if they are not in attendance they will face the same consequences they would if they missed any other class,” said Jorgensen.

The program is intended to work hand in hand with the privilege based attendance program implemented in the school two years ago all in an effort to help students continue to see success at RVHS.

For the students not in need of CAST other options will be provided during that time In some cases there may be extended lunch periods.

Jorgensen said that time would also be available for those students to do classwork. The only difference is that the teachers would not be available for them, as they will be spending time with the CAST program.

The school board approved the concept, and Jorgensen said he intends to implement it starting this school year.

In other action during its meeting, the school board:

• Approved the employment of Andy Ourada as community education and activities director at a salary of $75,000. According to Rick Elling-worth, bringing the two programs under one person will save the school district up to $15,000, with other funds saved being used to compensate people to assist Ourada in some of the community education tasks.

Photo courtesy of Internet public domain