Eric Folkerts, assistant principal •

Atchison High School • Atchison, KS

Changing Attitudes

This past school year, we implemented a schedule that allowed for a release of students on all Wednesday afternoons. The first Wednesday of each month was a full student body release to allow for 1 hour and 27 minutes of full faculty collaboration time. The remaining Wednesdays, students were released based on passing all of their scheduled classes. Teachers used this time to work in their small groups as well as time to tutor students that were having difficulty in classes. The change in faculty attitude has been overwhelming. They now feel a sense of empowerment that they had stripped from them with the previous administration. Teachers are now blogging about success stories in their classes and sharing ideas on how to help struggling teachers in other subjects. The change has also improved student performance. At the end of the 1st semester, we only had 58% of our kids pass all their classes. By the end of the year, we were up to 74%. WE JUMPED UP BY 16%. We were pleased with the improvement but not shocked. We felt PLCs combined with our MTSS concepts would help. This year, we are looking for 85% of our kids with all passing classes. Our teachers are motivated with helping students learn instead of focusing on teaching. A veteran of 13 years, Ed Crouse, says "This has been my best year at Atchison HS".

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