Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Junior High Tests Learning Program


The Kimball Junior High School is currently trying out a new program to help out junior high students with their studies throughout the third quarter of the school year.

The Extended Learning Time program was brought to the attention of the school by Kimball junior high teacher Carolyn Montgomery.

“I actually got the idea from Sterling Junior High School. I found it when there were concerns that students were struggling. I just brought the program to the attention of the principal and our teachers,” Montgomery said.

According to Montgomery, the primary goal of the program is to encourage students through giving them extra support.

“We’re trying to give them a quiet atmosphere and a place to go and get their work done,” Montgomery said.

The program entails that students who fall on the “D” or “F” list will attend a mandatory study hall after school during which they can catch up on any missing assignments.

“It’s trying to help them develop better study skills and a better work ethic. We’re trying to help them see that education is worth while, and that it’s important,” Montgomery said.

The program is held between 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday. The program is sponsored and supervised by the junior high teachers.

“We as teachers have just volunteered and taken two week segments,” Montgomery said.

The implementation of the program comes on the heels of a worrisome time for students’ grades as during the second week of December, close to 50% of students at Kimball Junior High were on the “D” and “F” list, according to a letter sent out to parents by the school.

“As a junior high staff, we found that that was unacceptable. This was an opportunity to try to get our students to focus more and bring their grades up,” Montgomery said.

Grades are checked every Monday with students and parents being informed whether or not they will be asked to attend Extended Learning Time for that week.

“A list comes out every Monday, and we walk around and inform the students whether or not they fall on that list. It starts on Wednesday that they come after school. We have also typed up a letter to inform parents that their child falls on the list and that we hope to see them in Extended Learning Time and give them the dates of that,” Montgomery said.

Parents also have the option of signing a waiver for the program if they feel that their child does not need the program or there is not proper transportation in place for their child in order to accommodate the student’s participation in the program.

Junior high students that are involved in sports will be allowed to miss Extended Learning Time on days that they have a game. However, on days that they have practice, they will be asked to leave practice to report to Extended Learning Time at 3:30 p.m. if they fall on the “D” or “F” list.

The program will run through to the end of the third quarter at which time the junior high staff will assess whether or not it has decreased the number of students on the “D” or “F” list, If the program proves effective, it will be continued throughout the rest of the school year, according to Montgomery.

Though being asked to stay after school is normally indicative of misbehavior on the part of a student, the Extended Learning Time program is not meant to be seen as a detention type punishment.

“It’s not forced learning. It’s not a punishment. It’s extended learning time. If you need an after school study hall, that’s what it is,” Montgomery said.


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