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Can We Raise the Bar?

Posted by: Michael Demoura | October 17, 2011 | 2 Comments |

By Michael de Moura

Homer High School has, once again, deviated from the common path of American public schools.  Lofty academic scores and a varied selection of extra-curricular activities could no longer suffice.  Homer High’s administrative staff decided to raise the grading standards from a 60 percent passing grade to a minimum of a 70 percent in all classes.  Grading standards at HHS are now higher than any other public school on the Peninsula.  Requiring students to maintain a C-average manages to raise the overall precedence of Homer High graduates. Doctor Gee had this to say: “I care about the kids enough to push them… there is no excuse, because help is available.”

By altering the basis of a passing grade, Homer High School ensures every graduate receives a bare minimum of $2,378 per year in scholarship money.  All Alaska Performance Scholarships are applicable in any level of college, and even special interest job training programs, which prepare students for careers ranging from barbers to heavy machinery operators.   Graduating with a 3.5 GPA and an ACT score equivalent to a 1680 on the SAT entitles Alaskan students to $4,755 per year, on top of Honors program scholarships.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to walk across the stage and give every student a scholarship”, said Doctor Gee.

Students of Homer High already score higher on standardized tests, than the majority of Alaskans.  Motivating students to do homework assignments, raise daily grades and keep improving as time goes by, better preparing alumni for college.  The academic upheaval resulting from new grade requirements, will impact Homer High School and its registrants as a whole.

Some students may struggle to maintain passing grades, in the future.  However, all students with copacetic and adequate grades, alike, will enjoy immense benefits from the expectations established by “Raising the Bar”.  Out of the 51 football players, only two were ineligible this year.  An astonishing feat, accomplished in part by Coach Wyatt’s stern practice demands.  If anyone on the football team was not passing a class, instead of practicing, they would attend after school tutoring.

Paul Story, an intervention counselor, and Mr. Gutzler are available four days a week until 4:30 P.M. to help students recover before grade checks.  Tutoring paired with intervention counselors, tasked to bring up failing grades and nullify excuses, are capable of ensuring that all students pass their classes.  So if anybody is having a hard time coping with new grading standards, there’s always concerned staff of teachers present to accommodate student’s academic needs.

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As Dr. Gee says,help is available, and it is, but it’s not always good help.
Teachers sit the student(s) down, and go over and over the subject and just expect the student to understand right then and there but it doesn’t always work that way. Diffrent kids have diffrent learning styles. Teachers just don’t get that and that’s hard on the student body when you feel like your own teacher doesn’t want to help you. I hope I didn’t offend anyone I’m just speaking my mind.

You bring up a good point. Everybody’s brain responds differently to teaching methods. In the past couple decades, research into superior methods of learning have shown that a mere 30% of students retain information well from auditory lessons (lectures). While 65% prefer visual presentations. If a student continues to struggle with a topic, teachers and tutors should be able to take a different approach..

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