OUR VIEW: All can be proud of growing honor rollThe honor roll at Mitchell Middle School is bulging, and that’s great news for local educators.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
The honor roll at Mitchell Middle School is bulging, and that’s great news for local educators.
According to a report in Saturday’s Daily Republic, the percentage of middle school students on the first-quarter honor roll in 2006-07 was 58.7 percent. The number generally remained in the 50 to 60 percent range until 2010, when it jumped to 69.9 percent.
This school year, the percentage of students on the fall honor roll was 74.5.
The reason for the increase? School officials credit the district’s ICU plan, which went into effect two years ago. It sounds like a hospital’s “intensive care unit” program, and for good reason.
The program pushes under-performing students to turn in all missing or incomplete work, and no excuses are tolerated. Those who don’t comply with the stringent rules are sent to “Power Hour” classes, set up before and after school, to catch up on their schoolwork.
It’s a rigid program that is closely monitored. For instance, during an interview last week with The Daily Republic, middle school Principal Brad Berens knew exactly how many students were tardy with their work that particular day. He noted that 21 of the school’s 570 students owed teachers a missed assignment, quiz or test.
It’s no wonder the honor roll is growing, pleasing educators and parents and gobbling up more space on The Daily Republic’s Young Living page.
We firmly believe in the ICU program. Likewise, we believe that instead of being an unfair burden for students and teachers, it provides an atmosphere that creates accountability for both sides. ICU not only teaches students the three R’s, but it also instructs them about life’s responsibilities.
Still, we don’t believe the ICU program deserves all of the credit. We know that the district’s online Parent Portal — which allows parents Internet access to monitor daily student progress — creates accountability in the household. The parents who are paying attention and using the system may have their own rigid programs in place at home. We know of a few.
The ability for parents to so accurately bird-dog a student’s daily failures and successes was generally unheard of in past decades. Back then, academic troubles had greater potential to escalate beyond repair.
No matter the reason for the recent academic success at the middle school, students who simply opt to not do their schoolwork are no longer falling between the cracks. Whether they are the recipient of a firmer push at school or getting better direction at home, they are better students for it.