The Intensive Care Unit for academics was implemented at the eighth-grade level this school year and Junior High Principal Eric Lause reported a significant lower number of F’s among the eighth grade compared to this time last year.
The ICU program was created to help freshmen complete and turn in missing assignments. The district is part of an ICU database that keeps track of every missing assignment among students submitted by teachers.
When a student’s name is on the ICU database list, an automatic text message and two emails detailing the assignment are sent to their parents. Teachers will inform students of the missing assignment and they have one day to get off the list. If students fail to do so, students are taken to a dedicated ICU room to complete the assignment.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Lause said there were 181 F’s in the first two quarters for the 2017-18 school year. For the first two quarters for this school year, there were 40 F’s, which is a 141 decrease.
“Teachers and kids are working hard, so it’s really good,” Lause said. “It’s really worked well. The numbers are showing great things. The kids are feeling supported and really doing their share of work.”
The goal is to eventually have the program implemented for all grades at the junior high.
“We want to make (students) understand that when they come through the middle school, it’s not OK to not do your work,” Lause said.
High School ICU Program
Teachers and staff can use the ICU database for grades nine-12, according to ICU instructor Paul Codespoti. However, freshmen and sophomores are currently being pulled aside to finish assignments if they are not completed.
Next year, juniors and eventually seniors could be pulled aside to complete any unfinished assignments, according to Codespoti.
Schoolwide, there have been a total 9,859 assignments given out by teachers so far this year, Codespoti said. Currently, there are 349 missing assignments from 339 students, which is an improvement from last year.
“We’re way ahead from where we were last year. We’ve recovered more assignments this year than we had last year,” Codespoti said.
He added that more sophomores are on the ICU list this year due to the increased workload and end of course examines. Codespoti said he has received positive comments from parents.
“Parents love it because they get the immediate feedback of the kids’ assignments that are on the list and the accountability for the kids,” he said.
Codespoti added that students this year can also receive a text message notifying them of their missing assignment.
“When they come into the ICU room, they can’t go ‘Well I don’t know what I’m on the list for.’ So, now we’re sending texts to the students and the parents,” Codespoti said.
Faculty feedback of the program has been great, according to Codespoti. He said the ICU database helps teachers keep better track of assignments that have not been turned in.
Codespoti said he hopes that the program will be implemented at the fifth grade level, and that this program “stays here for a long, long time.”
“If we put this philosophy in place, this should be something that should never go away because kids should always be responsible for their work,” he said.
He added that once students take accountability for their work, teachers can then focus on activities they want to do in their classroom that they may not have had time to do in the past.
“After you’ve got it from fifth through 12th grade, the amount of things that you can start to do with your teachers and your curriculum really starts to expand because every student knows there’s no excuse,” Codespoti said.
Support also has come from the school board and administration, according to Codespoti.
“It’s a group effort that we’re putting forward and it really will change the culture from the kid’s point of view to where they’re accountable for every assignment,” he said.
During the 2017-18 school year, teachers uploaded a combined total of 14,070 assignments to the database for approximately 520 freshmen.