BHS presses “Go” on new take on advisory

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BHS presses “Go” on new take on advisory

Madison Arnold, Staff Writer

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Biddeford High School has made a schedule altering shift to “Go-Time” during the middle of the day intervention block.

The acronym “GO” stand for “Growth Opportunity,” and is a new take on advisory at Biddeford High School. It provides students with an extra class period per day. This time is filled with one of the student’s courses on rotating schedule starting with “Block 1, Orange” and going in order. This allows students to have an extra block depending on the day. However, homeroom advisory on Fridays remains the same.

The new “Flex-time” is anticipated to bring structure and keep students focused in class all day. Principal Jeremie Sirois is hopeful about how the change will be beneficial for students.

“Teachers will know which students are coming and know what they need to work on,” said Sirois. “If you’re struggling in your English class, you’ll have a designated time every couple weeks to be able to go to that teacher and [they are] going to know exactly what you need.”

For students who have a study hall, early release, late start, or COT class, they go to a classroom called a flex-room. During this “Flex-Time” students can do homework, Khan Academy, or SAT prep. If you are a senior, you can be working on scholarships as well. “Flex-Time” opens up new opportunities for students.

Khan Academy is an online resource that creates personalized SAT prep and can be linked with someone’s College Board Account. College Board is the non-profit company that administers any AP or AT test, therefore linking Khan Academy and College Board creates specialized practice depending on a student’s needs.

“We are giving students a half a credit for 25 hours of SAT prep,” said guidance counselor Mrs. Jen Rowland in regards to Khan Academy.

Rowland hopes that the graduating seniors will reflect on their own SAT experience and encourage underclassmen to take advantage of this opportunity.

The move away from “HAMR-Time” has proved to be essential to administration. There was an extensive attendance issue and many students used the time to go on their phones or leave the building.

“If kids are saying, ‘You’re taking away my free time,’ I’m okay with that,” said Sirois. “I’m not sure that a 40-minute block in the middle of the day that was designed to help kids is all that important if you’re just using it as free time.”

Teachers also felt the need for change as “HAMR-Time” became overwhelming and unorganized. Hopefully this change will bring consistency.

However, it still comes along with drawbacks.

“[The teachers] biggest concern was that they’re going to see their students once every eight days for extra help,” said Rowland. “That can really hurt the learning process when they were so used to that extra time.”

Biddeford High School social studies teacher, Ryan Minzy, confirms that it has become more difficult to connect with students.

“I have one AP US History class one day and one the other day which I had a sub there for. I assigned them the same thing to do, but the problem is I could discuss it with my first class, but I couldn’t discuss it with the other class,” says Minzy.

With the switch over to “Go-Time” those students haven’t all been able to come in and get the same time to work on a topic that they would if they had “HAMR-Time” to do so. Now the gap between when their next “Go-Time” would be at least two weeks later. There are things like this that the “Go-Time” schedule can’t account for.

Although “HAMR-Time” wasn’t perfect, in theory, it’s principles seemed the most convenient for students.

“Our pedagogical problem was the idea that we say, ‘students can go wherever they want,’” says Minzy. Which he states hypothetically sounds great, but was poorly executed by students. “In that sense, Go-time has made a big difference.”

Minzy believes “Go-Time” deals with creating a much more realistic solution for students than “HAMR-Time” ever presented.

Acknowledging all of the benefits and disadvantages of “Go-Time,” it seems the administration and teachers at Biddeford are open to adapting “Go-Time” in coming years.

“If we’re using this time as an extra rotating block, why don’t we just add the time back onto our class schedule?” Minzy presented as a possible option.

Other ideas include creating time for clubs, student service workshops, or even re-implementing a system that benefits students who need extra help in certain classes.

“I think we’re really open,” said Rowland. “The ‘GO-Time’ committee is going to look at how everything is working out and try and make some changes for next year.”

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