By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
First semester ends this week at Eden Valley-Watkins Schools, and second semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 21, after a staff development day Monday. With the new semester, there will be no more study halls, and staff will roll out a new program: S.O.A.R. which stands for Strive for excellence, Own our actions, Act responsibly, Respect others.
Litchfield has been using a similar program for about a year, and they’re all still adjusting to it. Annandale, though, has been doing this for three years and it works very well for them.
By shaving four minutes off of each school period, an extra 30 minutes is freed up over the lunch hour. The new S.O.A.R. hour will allow a half-hour for lunch and a half-hour for advising, teaching, catching up, organizational meetings, group or team photos, and more. This will eliminate most of the daytime interruptions to the school day for everyone, and will more than make up for the four minutes deleted from each period.
Teachers will post their office hours on their doors, and students can drop in as needed. Teachers may also request that students come in on a particular day during S.O.A.R time for extra help that may be needed.
Organizations and clubs like FFA and DECA can hold their organizational meetings during the S.O.A.R. hour, which will be helpful for students who work or who have practice after school. And the organizations will post their meetings on a school calendar on their website.
Students who have no meetings or teacher advisory times may shoot hoops in the gym, or find something else to do in the Brook Street lobby. The primary purpose of S.O.A.R., however, is to provide an academic boost as needed for students. The stated goals of S.O.A.R. are to (1) make teachers available to all students; (2) increase positive student/adult interactions which leads to improved grades, attendance, and behavior; and (3) eliminate classroom disruptions.
A similar program was begun at the elementary school last year. Tuesday it will be introduced to high school students after an informational meeting this week.
S.O.A.R. hour will be from 11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m. each day at EV-W Secondary. Lunch will be served twice during this time.