The evolution of Academic Support


Richard Ong

Mrs. Pittman’s Academic Support made dresses for a charity

Teachers have finally gained the time necessary to help struggling students with difficult concepts, making up tests or to teach fun and interesting concepts; it has come in the form of Academic Support Sessions. Academic Support is every Thursday and Friday from 9:22 a.m. to 9:52 a.m. Students sign up online for a classroom session by choice or teacher recommendation earlier in the week. In the past, students were allowed to show up to a session that they had not signed up for and be marked down as present; not any more. If a student is not signed up for a session, they must report to a mandatory meeting in the auditorium.

“It is really helpful for kids who are in sports and need to get caught up on work.””

— Junior Margo Achterkirch

Academic Support provides a short block of time that allows students to catch up on their school work, extend their horizons and learn more about some interesting topics that are not usually covered in typical high school classes. Principal Mark Randall stresses, “Learning is not optional.” While this may seem abrasive at first, it is the truth. In school or in life, people must constantly learn as they go to better themselves. If someone is in good academic standing and does not need to catch up on school work, there are plenty of fun and interesting enrichment topics to go to. OHS students have the option of doing charity work during Academic Support as well, such as, sewing dresses for people in Africa who struggle finding affordable clothing. Broadening one’s spectrum cannot hurt, it will only build upon a student’s knowledge. When asked about Academic Support, Junior Margo Achterkirch said, “It is really helpful for kids who are in sports and need to get caught up on work.”

According to Randall, there have been some visible improvements made in students through Academic Support. However, the system is still fairly new, so there is little data to base any strong assumptions on yet. Through the next few years, staff plans on looking at overall GPAs, number of failures and standardized test scores to see if any valuable improvements are made.

“The new signup makes it easier and faster to get signed up for a class.” ”

— Senior Adam Rehman

Recently, the sign up for Academic Support switched from Sign up Genius to Flextime. Flextime is a more simple and reliable way for students to sign up for academic support, eliminating many bugs and issues in Sign Up Genius. Students go to the Owatonna Flextime link and type in their school username and password to login. After logging in, they simply select the day they are signing up for and scroll through the list of classes to choose the one they would like. Teachers gain a new ability with the new sign up, they can require students to attend their classrooms for an Academic Support session. For students with late or missing work, teachers can block a student from attending any session other than their own. Owatonna Senior, Adam Rehman, says, “The new signup makes it easier and faster to get signed up for a class.” 

Academic Support Sessions are a great way to take one’s learning to the next level.