Enrichment Period Causes Schedule Change

“All students are to report back to first block for enrichment period, again all students are to report back to first block during this time,” this is what Penn Manor students heard after second block and some of them cringed.

Why all this “enrichment?”  What is it supposed to accomplish?

Principal Phil Gale explained a new schedule for Penn Manor High School. Photo by Christa Charles

According to principal Phil Gale, the enrichment activities called, adopt-an-anchor, are when students go back to first block, second block, third block and forth block on selected days.

The purpose of the enrichment is to focus the entire school on certain skills where improvement is needed.

What the students have learned were math problems, which some students struggled with in the past. The students learned how to do scatter plots, slope and best fit line. All in all this helped the students get a good grasp on things and help build their confidence.

As Penn Manor sets forth for another enrichment period, how did they do overall?

Was it worth it? Why and how long do we have to keep doing this?

These are just some questions Penn Manor students ponder day to day.

Although there were complaints before it started, when math was all said and done, many students believe it wasn’t as hard as they thought it would be.

“It was really easy,” said senior Jacklyn Schmalhofer.

Even for a junior, Joey Jackson, who helped tutor kids, the math directions were very clear.

“The way kids completed the math, it looked pretty easy,” said Jackson.

The schedule change made a big impression on staff and students in Penn Manor, shortened blocks every single day, many were not sure how and what to expect. But, they had to do it.

“No idea,” Gale said about how long the enrichment periods would go on throughout the year.

“We did very good overall, people got too worried and stressed out about this,” Gale said. ” It was needed, it was a good review and overall developed better skill.”

As students were worked up about this change, teachers were too. Some teachers haven’t done math since college and they were expected to learn it and teach it.

“Not something they’ve done in awhile, but I was very impressed with the teachers and students working hard,” Gale said.

Krista Cox, Penn Manor’s assistant principal was very impressed on how students helped other students and helped everyone understand things.

After four sessions on scatter plots and linear equations, it was time for the English department to circulate lessons on summarizing and main idea.  Same schedule but a few less complaints now that students were in the groove.

“(I learned) to pick out the main idea better in a story,” said senior Amanda Miley.

The question is still pondered, was it successful or not?

“Yes, it was successful, it helped kids understand the concepts, and this will help them do it on a test,” Gale said.

Some complaints were initially heard because the teachers were getting cut, on average, 14 minutes out of their prep periods each day for this new schedule change.

“Some teachers were complaining, but they’re not losing too much time,” Gale said.

Are students losing out on other academic instruction because of shorter blocks?

Are teachers going to try to rush teaching in order to try to complete the things that need to be taught by the end of the semester?

Some of these questions, are still up in the air and could not be answered at this time.

The PSSA test is soon going away and a new state test will be introduced, Keystone Exams.

” Were not gonna talk about that yet, maybe we’ll have to do another article on that,” Gale said.

By Tyler Funk