Strategy does not lose sight of other students

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock High School’s re-opened computer lab has become the Extended Learning Opportunities Center, which will aid students of all grade levels.

HANCOCK — Hancock High School’s focus on increasing the proficiency of those students who are in the lowest 30 percent will not negatively impact the remainder of the student body, according to Principal Ezekiel Ohan. In fact, it will offer the more proficient students more decisions in their own learning.

“We don’t sacrifice the people who are proficient,” Ohan said, “because now they can determine what practices are in play for them. They’re stoking stratospheric understanding. The people who are stratospheric are going to be stratospheric regardless. They already know how to crack the nut on getting an A. They’ll continue with what they’re doing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Under a new five-week cycle data-driven fact-finding method, Ohan said teachers now have freedom to separate the less-proficient from the more-proficient and develop strategies for both.

“So now, the teacher has a choice in the classroom,” Ohan said. “‘I can go ahead and keep the people that need recovery right here. I can focus, I can give them a close-ratio instruction. I can get them formative assessments of check for understanding of what they were tripping on before they could receive understanding.'”

With the re-opening of the computer lab, which is now the Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Center, more proficient students also receive more attention, while at the same time, having more decisions in their own education.

Using the data from the five-week cycle, the teacher can share new options with the student.

“I could send my stratospheric, or those students with proficiency, into the ELO Center,” Ohan said. You can come in here and garner more understanding on your proficiency, or you can become an expert in an area and identify your scope of where you want to specialize.”

For those students who are stratospheric, Ohan said, this could possibly be the avenue by which they can decide if they are ready for an Advanced Placement program.

“You want to do math, or calculus, or chemistry, or if your interest is in social studies,” Ohan said. “You want to come in and do American government? What if you’re ELA (English Language Arts)? Do you want to go into that? Come in and find out. Or the teacher can go ahead and say, ‘Ya know what? I know what you need to get an understanding for if you’re stratospheric, or you’re already proficient.”

The teacher will work with the student, whether in the top 30 percent or the lowest 30 percent.

“So (the teacher) will work with them,” Ohan said, “and I’ll send my recovery population to the ELO center, and I’ll send them down with a lesson plan. And then the person that’s overseeing the ELO Center will be assisted by the para pro (paraprofessional) and probably a peer mentor, so people can have a closer ratio of instruction for the lesson plan compliant with those core discipline standards.”