AAP policy enforcement to increase

Administrators seek improvement, weigh possible schedule changes

Joey Pail, Staff Writer

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Academic Assistance Period (AAP) was meant to be used as a time for students to finish some work, turn in papers, meet for clubs or go to a teacher for help. What happens if this 25 minute period is taken out of the daily schedule, because of the rules not getting followed?
In the handbook, it states the different activities students can participate in during this time. Approved activities include:
“Sustained silent reading (SSR), targeted assistance in content area (tutoring), remediation for at-risk students, one-on-one or small group extended learning sessions, work and test make-ups, student activity meetings, need-based strategy and skill development in reading, writing, mathematics and science, communication with parents, content-area teachers and guidance staff, test prep instruction for college entrance and state-mandated exams, counseling/advising for ALL Freedom students in areas concerning academic, social, emotional and post-secondary concerns and/or planning.”
What part of this handbook is being questioned?
“First and foremost, it’s a safety concern. If we had to have an evacuation or if something happened, we want to be able to account for all the students at any point during the day. So that’s my first concern, if I had to call for a student [we would need to] be able to know where that student is or at least be able to track where that student went, so the first concern is primarily a safety concern,” High School Principal William Deal said.
“[The faculty] started seeing so many students in the hallway, not in assigned areas. In observing the hallways, we saw there were kids leaving the building early before being dismissed, so we knew that there were a lot of students not being where they needed to be during that time and it was occurring with enough regularity that we need to tighten that up a bit,” Deal said.
Because of students sitting in the halls or going to another class just to get out of doing work, the entire period might disappear. This would cause a tremendous disadvantage on organizations that rely on AAP to schedule meetings for clubs or to get information across.
“Physics Club meets weekly and so we always have a presentation where people are presenting their ideas and projects, so it really is a nice outlet [that takes place] every Wednesday [during AAP]. The Naturalist Club [is] just beginning a lot of scientific research, and we need that time to try and gather together every week [during AAP] to try to grow the club. In between those days, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we almost always have individuals in here working on either long-term projects, book reviews or other things like that, so from a science perspective, AAP is a very important aspect of the day,” Dr. Brian Wargo said.
“I really don’t know when we would be able to meet, I would hope that they would try to give us some other time, but it really is an important part of both clubs being able to meet and exchange ideas, so if all of that time went away, I’m not sure how the clubs would survive,” Wargo continued.
There are now new, stricter guidelines, however, that were sent out to the teachers by email. These new rules state the needed things by teachers and students to keep AAP intact. These rules are listed below:
“All students must be in class on time, roll will be taken and students will be accounted for during AAP, all students must remain in class unless a pass is given prior to class (Students shall not be permitted to leave AAP to obtain a pass), all students are required to remain in the classroom during AAP, students must be quiet and working on school-related work only, students leaving the room for any reason must have a hall pass, all electronic device rules and regulations should be followed, students attending a meeting, club, college visit or help from another teacher should report to their regular AAP teacher for attendance, the teacher of the meeting/club will maintain supervision of those students and email a list of attendees for verification, AAP teachers will maintain a sign-out sheet of students who went elsewhere for AAP, students will be dismissed from the end of the period at the dismissal bell at 2:30.”
“[If AAP was followed the way the new guidelines state,] there would be no problems and we would continue with AAP as is, at least for the time being. I think we will always have that discussion of [whether or not there would] there be a better time of the day [and if there is] there a way to better utilize it. I think we would still explore those things to see if there is a way to make it better, but I wouldn’t feel like it was such a push to change the period right away, so I think we would take a step back and say, ‘OK, it’s working the way we want it to’, but we’d still ask the question [of if there is] a way to make it better,” Deal finished.

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