Learning a lesson

Laramie Middle School seventh-grader Josie Orenda works on math homework Wednesday afternoon during a structured study hall at LMS.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Laramie Middle School is offering its students an opportunity to have additional support from teachers outside of school hours to work to get better grades, Laramie Middle School Principal Kevin O’Dea said.

O’Dea said he started the Scout Learning Lab this school year to help students work with their teachers to go over materials they missed in class or get help with assignments they are having trouble with.

“Scout Learning Lab is just a system of time and support for students who need more time with a teacher, access to technology such as computers or other things,” he said.

The Scout Learning Lab’s success can be measured by looking at how many students are failing one or more classes and how many missing assignments they have. O’Dea said the number of students with failing grades and missing assignments has decreased since the program was implemented.

“The first time we checked grades on Sept. 11, there were 101 students with one or more failing grades, and that is kind of when we started getting Scout Learning Lab off the ground,” he said. “When we checked Oct. 23, there were 62 students with one or more failing grades.”

The learning lab was a response to state budget cuts eliminating a program that provided extended school day support for students. O’Dea said providing students the opportunity to receive the help is something the school should do even if the state won’t.

“The state of Wyoming had what they called their Bridges Program, which was funding for extended school day opportunities,” O’Dea said. “Part of being an effective school is providing students the opportunity to be successful and some students need time outside of class, outside of the normal school day in order to do that.”

He said there are some cases where trying to catch up after school is not enough for some students. In these cases, students can participate in learning lab sessions Saturdays where they could receive assistance for larger assignments.

“I have in the past had students that have wanted to just come in on a Saturday just to get caught up,” O’Dea said. “If a student maybe had an illness or some family obligations out of town, and maybe they missed three or four days of school for a half hour a night it would be pretty hard to get caught up.”

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