Ridgeland High School and Rossville Middle School administrators are joining forces to take their students to the next academic level in the 2012-2013 school year.
"First of all, we are required by the School Improvement Grant to have 30 minutes a day of ILT [increased learning time]," said RHS principal Glen Brown. "We will have 70 hours of ILT built into the schedule over the course of a year. We are on a 168-day schedule."
Being an advocate for ILT is a new role for the RHS team of teachers. According to Brown, the state requires SIG schools create an ILT by adding 300 additional instructional hours to the 2012-2013 school year. Of these 300 hours, no less than 60 hours must be included in the normal schedule. The hourly requirement of the ILT will be met through the channels of instructional enrichment, remediation and professional development.
Brown said teachers are taking on the role of being student mentors to cheer them on and guide them to a bright future.
"We are creating a game plan," he said. "We want every student at minimum to pass all classes and graduate with a cohort. Students look at possible goals, set them and take steps to achieve them. All of our teachers are creating I.P.O.D.s, or Individual Plans of Destiny, for our students. It's their four-year graduation plan."
Brown said he and RMS principal Jason Pelham worked together to prepare last year for the new program. RMS calls its program ELT, or Extended Learning Time, and the school's teaching team are ELT advocates. The RMS ELT program will be a 35-minute block of daily learning time similar to the RHS ILT.
According to Brown, through the ILT program RHS is hosting summer leadership and transition academies for students, a 30-minute ILT in the daily schedule, after-school tutoring in core subjects and Saturday school in core subjects. Teachers will engage in common content planning 90 minutes per week.
"We aim to build the strongest possible future to challenge, engage and inspire students," said Brown. "We will help students wherever they are academically."
One hundred percent of the students and teachers at both schools will participate in the program to take learning to a new level at the schools. Brown and Pelham are currently compiling data to see where each student stands.