Soroco High School sees changes

Study halls required for failing students; leadership class offered

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Soroco High School students who don't turn in assignments and start failing a class will face mandatory study halls during lunch this year.

The program, which has been used at Soroco Middle School for the past two years, is an academic intervention. James Chamberlin, principal for the Soroco middle and high schools, said he has noticed some students making more of an effort to turn in assignments -- anything to avoid the study hall lunch.

Chamberlin updated the South Routt School Board about that change and several others at the high school at Thursday's School Board meeting.

He described how during the study halls, which are called "opportunity times," students on the brink of failing will work with a teacher to complete assignments, activities or labs. They are able to bring their lunch and eat during the study hall.

Another change for the high school is that it's offering a leadership class for the first time, and 12 students have enrolled. The head boy, head girl, secretary and treasurer of the high school are required to attend the class, but it is open to any interested students.

The class provides time for the student council to meet and plan and helps students develop into leaders, he said.

The ultimate goal, Cham--berlin said, is to encourage students to have an impact within the school and beyond.

To that end, the leadership class has organized a banquet dinner to raise money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Proceeds from the dinner, which will be Wednesday in the Soroco High School Commons, will be donated to the Red Cross.

Also at the high school, the concept of establishing a flexible schedule on Wednesday mornings is being considered, Chamberlin said.

One idea is to begin Wed--nesday's classes at 9 a.m. instead of 8:25 a.m. For those extra 35 minutes, students could spend time getting help from teachers, working in computer labs or making up tests. The extra time also would give teachers time to collaborate on curriculum and lesson plans.

The school day still would begin at 8:25 a.m., Chamberlin said, so it would not affect bus schedules and parents' schedules greatly.

In other business, South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed announced that South Routt School Board elections were canceled because there was only one candidate for each open position. Those candidates will sit on the School Board in November and are: AlidaLee Gingerich, incumbent for director district 1; Regina Hange, director district 2; and William Smith, director district 3.

The School Board also toured the library and boys' locker rooms in the high school, which were damaged late last summer because of a water-main break. The leak was discovered near the end of July. Its source was located by early August, and since then, work has been ongoing to fix the leak and the damage, Chamberlin said. The library opened for the first time this school year Thursday. The School District anticipates that insurance will pay for all but a $1,000 deductible.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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