EYE OF THE TIGER’S VIEW: Misuse muddles intentions

Student and teacher choices will determine program success




Priority period, “ROAR period,” “intervention period” is now in its sixth week at Roseville High School. At the conceptual level last year, some loved it and others hated it. In its rollout first week, some loved it and others hated it. Now, the divided consensus remains. The two sides aren’t mixed bags of students, though – trends in the types of students on either side indicate that the period is working precisely how it should be working.

On one side, the period is a waste of energy and, most importantly to these students, a waste of thirty minutes. “These students,” being academically-sound students, don’t need additional instruction on a lesson or help with their homework. “These students” can look at their straight A’s and not know what to do with themselves in a period designed to help struggling students, and that’s perfectly expected.

“These students” are not the students administration had in mind when they reintroduced an intervention schedule.

It was these students who admin wants to help: the ones who didn’t quite catch what the teacher said, the ones who decided to catch up on sleep after school instead of doing homework, the ones who take the bus and can’t make it to before or after school tutoring, the ones who don’t have the same lunch as the teacher whose class they’re failing, the ones who get distracted working alone, the ones who don’t care – the ones on the other side.

To students on the other side, thirty minutes to practice homework problems with the teacher or study for a test can make all the difference between passing and failing if used efficiently.

Students in need of academic support are responsible for using their priority period productively. But, some teachers who use the thirty minutes for extended lecture mar the intervention schedule’s promise – especially in the eyes of skeptical students. This exploit nullifies the period’s effect by offering students only a warped version of the actual intended system: an independent, no-strings-attached block of time for students to correct tests, to walk through homework step-by-step, to get the individual help they need.

Teachers have a collective five hours of the day to their own jurisdiction, and its either selfish or a sign of inefficiency on their part when they they use priority period to continue a lecture rather than support students in need one-on-one.

Those who criticize the period’s inefficiency should understand that all it is is an academic opportunity for students who need one. It’s up to the students to use the thirty minutes for their academic benefit. Teachers should keep their doors open to students who are behind, not students who want to get ahead.