• Comment

'Power period' added to middle schools

Power periods give pupils access to tailored courses

Posted: July 24, 2012 - 11:13pm  |  Updated: July 25, 2012 - 8:50am
Back | Next
Greenbrier Middle School pupils Rebecca Forry (from left), Allison Perry, Robin White and Cade Anderson plan some activities for the last week of school before summer vacation.
Greenbrier Middle School pupils Rebecca Forry (from left), Allison Perry, Robin White and Cade Anderson plan some activities for the last week of school before summer vacation.


When classes resume Aug. 7, Columbia County middle schoolers will continue taking a new set of ungraded courses implemented last semester.

Like high schools, which started offering similar programs about five years ago, middle schools now offer achievement periods, sometimes called power periods.

Within those achievement periods, pupils take part in acceleration, remediation or enrichment programs to suit their needs, said Director of Middle School Learning Sharon Carson.

Remediation courses give added instruction to pupils who are struggling academically.

“The focus is meeting the specific needs of each and every student, whether they need year-long remediation or periodic help,” Carson told the school board earlier this year.

Acceleration classes offer previews of upcoming topics.

“It can mean that the course has above grade-level content for those who have mastered the standard being taught, Carson said. “Or it can mean that new content is previewed for students who are struggling, so that they can be exposed to the content before they receive it in their regular class at a later time.”

Enrichment courses give excelling pupils a chance to broaden their interests. Pupils might learn Web production, publish a newspaper or learn about the practices of sustainable farming, Carson said.

“Teachers often lament that they have little if no time available to offer the learning opportunities that help students reach above and beyond the content standards,” she said. “The enrichment course offerings during (achievement period) can address this need.”

By shaving a few minutes off other classes, the pupils meet in 45-minute blocks each day for the achievement period. The pupils rotate through courses after about three weeks, Carson said.

The achievement period allows pupils to skip ahead or get extra tutoring without missing career connections courses.

In the past, Carson said, at-risk pupils had to give up a career connections class in favor of remediation courses.

Carson called that unfair to those pupils, who often excelled in career connections.

Unlike in high schools, middle-schoolers don’t get the option to pick the course of their choosing. Using teacher recommendations, report cards and results from the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, pupils are assigned into achievement period classes based on their academic strengths and weaknesses.

“Our primary focus has been and always will be what is best for students,” she said.

  • Comment

Comments (2)


Good idea in theory but

Good idea in theory but horrible in practice. Carving out time to cater to specific needs of specific students is exactly the kind of "outside the box" thinking that we need to be able to help each child reach his potential. However, in practice it seems that all this program does is "dumb down" the curriculum. It is true that this idea gives students a chance to refocus on material that is proving to be difficult to master. It does not give them extra time for instruction because the regular classes are trimmed in order to make time for this program. You get that, lets cut normal instruction time so we can go back and teach what you didn't get when we first flew through it. The result is that the students who are excelling lose class time in favor of fun activities like playing the game of chess or an extra PE instruction period while the struggling students get to review the class material you just tried to force feed them in 45 minute doses. The effort is to be applauded but in my opinion the idea in its current state does more harm than good. I know my child thinks its a waste of time although he enjoys the play time.

Stella B. Small

Improving educational

Improving educational standards is very important in our country. Being best essay writers team leader I am aware of what quality education institutes are providing. With such educational standards its really hard in my country to compete the world.