JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Three years into establishing multiple programs to improve academics at Annie Camp Junior High, Principal William Cheatham tells Region 8 the numbers are in and they're good.
"The first year we started implementing things they dropped to 100," Cheatham told Region 8 News. Explaining the drop in numbers of students failing classes. "So basically we went from where almost a quarter of our students were failing one or more classes, to just 7.5%."
In October of last year, Region 8 News reported how the Learning Lunch Lab at Annie Camp was steadily dropping the number of students failing classes, but Cheatham explained it's a multi-faceted approach to helping struggling students that's making the difference.
From peer observation, where teachers observe other teachers in class to improve the way they instruct students to low-performance monitoring.
"Which in a classroom, if a teacher has a student who has a D or an F every two weeks, they send a grade report home," Cheatham explained. "They talk to that student, the parent has to sign that, bring it back. If not, the teacher tries to make parental contact. Just to inform the parent, hey this is what's going on, we're concerned, let's get on top of this before it gets too bad."
It's a combination that's bringing up grades and inversely dropping the number of suspensions and absenteeism in the school
The change is something teachers like English teacher, Cassandra Sabbatini have noticed in their students.
"We had so many students failing and as we started putting these programs into place, there were less and less and less and I actually checked my grade book today and I have no students failing my class," Sabbatini told Region 8 News.
Sabbatini said in turn, the students have noticed as well.
"This was actually my first year that I've had a student come to me and he said 'Thank you so much for helping me,'" Sabbatini said. "It just makes you feel like that's why I do it...it's very rewarding."
Cheatham told Region 8 News he's hoping the improvements they've seen in grades, suspensions and absenteeism will play into higher grades on standardized testing. Even with the low numbers they have already, he said they will work to bring those down even more.