Foundation for improvement

‘Saturday School’ another M-CHS program to help students

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$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Instructor Jim Hammond is available to help students like Dayton Wilson during Saturday School at M-CHS.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$ Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Instructor Jim Hammond is available to help students like Dayton Wilson during Saturday School at M-CHS.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

Montezuma-Cortez High School Principal Jason Wayman is full of ideas.

On of those is “Saturday School.”

It is new to Montezuma-Cortez High School this year, and provides another way for M-CHS staff to reach youth that need help.

For students affected — those who have trouble with discipline, tardies and attendance, for example — the class, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, is mandatory.

Students are released early on Wednesdays this year as part of the new 5-day schedule, but those who face the aforementioned issues need something more, Wayman believes.

“The consequence of students being let out of learning did not seem to fit with our mission statement (A quality education for all),” he said. “Therefore giving us some of their time and having them work on assignments related to their reason for being there seems to be more fitting of a consequence.”

Affected students will have to be brought to Saturday School by their parents, but if there’s a transportation problem, Wayman said the school will work with them.

“The point is to curb the behavior, so if the family has to come in to work out something with the school, hopefully they will work with their students to also curb the behavior,” he said.

It is cheaper to run Saturday School than multiple days of after-school detention, Wayman said. Teachers sign up to run the period. Only one is needed per Saturday. It costs $75 per half day.

Montezuma-Cortez High School is also offering tutoring this year, but that’s not something new.

School tutoring was offered in past years by a social studies teacher.

“This year we have a math and a teacher with an English background running tutoring so that students feel that there are some options when going to tutoring,” Wayman said.

The school has also implemented a new grading scale this year that raises the lowest “D” from a 60 to a 66 percent. The rest of the grade thresholds remain the same as before, i.e. 90 for an A, 80 for a B, and 70 for a C.

The grade change is one of several strategies being used in an attempt to increase academic performance.

“As we look at students who are struggling, putting them in tutoring later in the year will be an option to give them the support to achieve at the high level we expect.”

Another change to Montezuma-Cortez High School this year is the ZAP — Zeros Aren’t Permitted — Room where students go after lunch to work on missing assignments. Administrators will staff the ZAP Room on a rotating basis.

calebs@cortezjournal.com