The student news site of Owatonna High School.

Academic Support Update

November 10, 2016

OHS will start Academic Support for Thursday and Fridays

Derek Roemhildt

OHS will start Academic Support for Thursday and Fridays

Academic Support, a program that has been in the making at OHS for more than two years, is finally coming on Nov 17. From then on, Academic Support will take place every Thursday and Friday for the rest of the school year, following the same time schedule as TMM. However, Academic Support will not be replacing TMM, which will now take place approximately once a month instead of once a week. Academic Support will make sure students are still on track for graduation and beyond.


Academic Support is being implemented at OHS to give students the time they need to learn the standards for their respective classes set forth by the school system and state. The students who do not need this extra time can use it to learn from enrichment classes or short lessons not normally offered by OHS.

Many schools have instituted similar RTI (Response to Intervention) based programs, and OHS faculty have researched the data from these programs along with data from some of the leading researchers in the world. All of the data points to the fact that an Academic Support structure has significant impacts on student achievement. At one school that OHS visited in Iowa, 90% of students reached teacher approved benchmarks after receiving more time and support. OHS even conducted their own pilot the previous school year on a select group of students, and 100 percent of them reached teacher approved benchmarks.

Principal Mark Randall explains, “International researcher, John Hattie, has found the type of structure we are putting in place has profound impacts on student learning. In fact, this support structure is one of the top influences on student achievement there is. Anything above .40 is in the zone of desired effects. Academic Support (or RTI) has a 1.07 zone of desired effect. This research has been done over a long period of time with thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of students across the world so it is a proven method that impacts all areas of student learning.” On the learning scale below, 0.15 is normal brain development and learning without the influence of teaching. With traditional teaching methods, that number increases to 0.3, but with an RTI based program, this number can skyrocket all the way up 1.07, a testament to the effectiveness of Academic Support.

The learning scale based on the work of John Hattie.
Source: John Hattie Educational Materials
This is a learning scale based on the work of John Hattie where 0.15 is normal brain development and learning without the influence of teaching and 0.3 is learning with traditional teaching methods.


Each week teachers will decide what Academic Support their students need. They will then turn them in by Tuesday so that course selections can be updated. During second hour each Wednesday, students will choose classes to go to during their Academic Support time the next two days. Students can choose areas in which they feel they could use some extra help or areas that are interesting to them. Additionally, teachers can request students for their Academic Support time if there is something that they feel the students need additional help with. This time could also be used to make up tests or labs, or even to study for upcoming tests such as the ACT or AP tests. What makes this work for all kids is some need help, some need time, and some want to be able to challenge themselves in a different way.

How to Sign Up

To sign up for specific classes or labs to attend during Academic Support, any student can just click on the links found in their email. Once at, the student can click on Login/Join in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  The student then must enter their student email and lunch number as follows.

Email: [email protected]

Password: Lunch Number

Once inside the system, the student just has to click on which day they would like to sign up for classes for, then check the class that they would like to attend and submit their decision.

I like TMM, but I think the new Academic Support program will be a valuable addition to the learning system.”

— Jesse Deml

Student Response

The students are looking forward to the switch from TMM to Academic Support and the academic impact it will have on them. Freshman Jesse Deml said, “I like TMM, but I think the new Academic Support program will be a valuable addition to the learning system.” Many students have high hopes for the new program, and feel it is an improvement over the previous program.  Senior Devin Miller said, “Academic Support will be a great opportunity to receive more specialized help, instead of wasted TMM time each week.” Many students have similar concerns about the fluidity of the change to Academic Support, however OHS is working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible. Senior Vivica Rosenberg said, “I think it’s a good idea, however I believe it will be hard to get started.”

OHS administration and teachers cannot wait for the positive impact that Academic Support will have on their students and individual classes. “We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t feel it was really important,” said Randall. “We know it’s change. We know it’s different, but at some point, it will just be a part of what we do.” Academic Support is a change for OHS, and generally people do not like change. However, change is necessary to make something better, and Academic Support is the next step in making OHS better.

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