Ghost Town

By Paige Montgomery

Thirty seconds before I walked in to the Academic Success Center, Science Department Coordinator Brian Wood had just unlocked the door. Needless to say, it was deserted except for him and me.

In order for one to understand why it is so deserted, everybody should know that the Academic Support Center has changed to the Student Success Center (here on referred to as the SSC).

The SSC in room U207 is available to all students who would like help in any subject. Depending on whether it’s the first half of the period versus the second, students can find teachers in different subject areas who are there to help with any questions.

“What we’ve done is make a support center...so when you really need help with the content you can access a teacher to learn that content during any period of the day,” said Principal, Doctor Lisa Sprague.

Recently I’ve been going to the writing place, and that place rocks. No one goes there, but it rocks

On top of the Student Success Center, there is GROWL (Grandview’s Reflection On Writing Lab), which follows the same model as the SSC, but is focused on writing.

“Recently I’ve been going to the writing place, and that place rocks. No one goes there, but it rocks,” said senior Tiffany Marshall.

Before the SSC and GROWL, it was the Academic Support Center (ASC). While tailored primarily towards freshmen, students who had below average grades were assigned into the Support Center with a supervising teacher to improve their grades.  

“We had teachers that were assigned in here maybe not necessarily knowing the subject matter that the kid was struggling in,” said Social Studies Department Coordinator John Rios.

Now the Student Success Center is strictly voluntary for students. Though you may have Ds or Fs, students are not forced to come in, but highly encouraged.

“In college when you need help with something, you’re failing a class, no one’s going to put you in another class,” said Sprague. “It’s going to be your job to find the resources to get the help, so you can pass.”

In hopes of making Grandview students more prepared for college, Grandview made this change. However, it doesn’t really seem like many students are coming to the SSC itself.

“It’s been frustrating because we haven’t had a whole lot of students come in. Its either feast or famine: there’s lots of students or nobody,” said Wood.

The first time I visited the Student Success Center, the only person who was there was Wood. Another time, I was in the room by myself waiting for at least 15 minutes before deciding to leave and try again later. When later came, it was still a ghost town.

“Last time, I’d been here, it was just me and a teacher,” said Freshman Aaron Valdez.

Though it may seem like it’s not necessarily working as not a lot of kids are showing up, previously struggling students like this new system better.

“Oh yeah, I’d rather just show up on my own,” said Marshall. “When I’m forced, I don’t want to be there. Why would I try to work on something when I’m mad I’m there?”

Marshall makes a good point. And Wood agreed with her as many struggling students wouldn’t care even if they were in the ASC. However, teachers find that not enough struggling students have the motivation to want to improve their grades.

“We’d like to see students that are really struggling but it’s hard to get those students to come in,” said Wood.

Of the three adults I talked to, two of them department coordinators and one the principal, all of them mentioned the change of the culture of our school.

“It [the Academic Support Center] doesn't really go along with the culture of our school,” said Sprague.

It may just yet work. One reason students don’t come to the SSC was the idea that students just don’t know about that it is a resource for everyone at Grandview to use.  Maybe students are just scared to talk to teachers who aren’t their current teachers.

“Sometimes [students] are not comfortable getting help,” added Wood.

It certainly is a scary prospect of talking to someone who you don’t know. However, learning from people you don’t know continues with the getting-ready-for-college theme.

One solution to this might be peer tutoring. And yes, we do have some peer tutors in the form of National Honor Society members, but the next step will be a large program of peer tutors sponsored by Dr. Brad Weinhold and Mr. Ryan Seely.

“Our goal is to have a network of people that can help any student at any time,” said Weinhold.

While the peer tutor network is still in the making for next year to augment the SSC, it’s clear that the academic support system at Grandview has changed a lot from last year to now. It is not perfect, but changes are being made.

For all we know, next year will show the best academic support system yet, along with stronger academic performance.

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