JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Students at Nettleton are experiencing something different this year that will hopefully lead to a better education. Students now have eight class periods instead of the standard seven. The eighth period is held in the morning and allows students to get a better understanding of class subjects they struggle with.
"This year we are becoming very proactive in how we approach these students," said Nettleton teacher Diane Blackwood.
Blackwood said usually students don't receive remediation until after they've taken state exams. This year the school has set aside an extra twenty-five minutes to help students.
"The students that I have in seminar period are students who need a little extra help with their literacy skills," said Blackwood.
Teachers at Nettleton have worked with students before and after school to better grasp the material, now that help is coming during class.
"We're making every effort to make sure that we identify what those needs are and provide them with opportunities to correct any kind of weaknesses they have," said Blackwood.
"This allows us to, basically, give a student a double dose of some areas he may need some extra practice in," said Nettleton Principal Darrel Dover.
Principal Dover said they looked at 8th grade benchmark scores and have divided the kids up into three categories: those who need extra help in math, literacy, and those who don't need extra help. Sophomore Casey Gibson uses her seminar time to catch up on reading.
"During class we actually stay pretty busy and then after school, I like reading, but I usually have a lot of homework and extra curricular activities," said Gibson.
"Research shows that the more kids read the better they are and their comprehension level increases," said Dover.
Because reading is so important the school has spent thousands of dollars to order multiple copies of different books. They already have over one thousand of the books on library shelves with many more on the way.
"We have learned that all of us improve that reading skill simply by taking time to read those things we enjoy the more time we spend reading the better we are at it," said Blackwood.
Dover said their job as educators is to educate students and make them life long learners.
"The thing that we can control at this school is time and we want to make sure we use every minute that we have for our kids to receive instruction," said Dover.
In addition to reading and learning, the seminar period will also feature guest speakers to teach the kids other skills like changing a flat tire, balancing a check book and using a credit card, and other things that don't fit into the normal curriculum. Other school activities like assemblies will also be held during this abbreviated class time.