Tutorial time is back

By Nick Fiorillo

In response to the increased failure rate in core subjects, school administrators are reinstating tutorial time which was cut at the beginning of the school year. The tutorial time will start the week of Dec. 12-16.

The details of the new tutorial were explained in an email from MTHS principal Greg Schwab to staff on Friday. Tutorial will be 37 minutes long on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which will cause a slight change to the bell schedule on those days. The school day will remain the same length with the same start and end times.

“It’s actually really nice to have it back at least for some part of the week because it helps everyone catch-up with schoolwork and obviously for those people who are behind,” junior Nancy Nguyen said.

Unlike tutorial in previous years which was before school, the new tutorial will be during the school day. Schwab said the time is needed to “be able to help those students who couldn’t otherwise get help after school because they ride the bus or just aren’t able to stay after school.”

Students will meet in their advisory classrooms. From that point, there are several options students will have during this time. Students can go to see a different teacher if the student has a pass from the teacher. Students will also be able to study and read in the library or in their advisory rooms. There will also be a math study session in the theater.

The tutorial time is largely in response to the increased number of students failing classes at the midterm progress report. “Pretty much across the subject areas, there’s a higher rate of failure,” Schwab said, referring to the high number of students failing in all subjects.

The goal is to reduce the amount of students failing before the end of the semester. The midterm grades can be improved by the end of the semester through an early intervention method.

Science teacher Adam Welman said he sees more students failing this year compared to last year.

“Almost twice as many,” he said.

Math was one area where scores were particularly low and administrators are concerned about how students will perform on upcoming standardized math tests such as the end of course exam or EOC.

Spanish teacher Robin Cogburn said math was a big focus during the Thursday’s staff meeting regarding the tutorial time.

“Because we have never had so many kids fail math, the district is telling us that we have to incorporate some tutorial time, and it has to be during the school day,” Cogburn said.

One of the downsides of this tutorial time is that time will be taken away from classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A total of 37 minutes has to be carved out of the schedule, meaning each class will be shortened by six minutes.

“I’m bummed. I’m disappointed that the classes I’ll have with my other students will be six minutes shorter, twice a week,” Welman said.

Administration and staff met Thursday to discuss options for this tutorial time. The staff was given a proposed tutorial plan with several options regarding time, days when it would be held and options for students. There was no decision made at that meeting. Schwab said the meeting was for “gathering input from teachers.”

Many students have a favorable opinion of the new tutorial, even though it will alter the recently changed bell schedule.

“I think it’s a great way to try and fix what the new bell schedule changed but I really hope it doesn’t affect students that are in Running Start and other advanced programs,” senior Jazzy Smith said.

While many will continue to see this instructional time as a tutorial time, the name will be changed soon. Schwab plans to change the name prior to the reinstatement of “tutorial”.

Administration realizes that there may be concerns about the new system and will evaluate the new plan at the end of the semester.