Shelton, Kendall offering ACT assistance
by Danny Wade
Everyone knows just how hard the coronavirus pandemic has made life over the past several months. But one field has been struggled exponentially—education.
There was the debate of closing schools last March. Then there was the debate to reopen school this year. Once it was decided to open schools in Humboldt, the challenge began for students and parents, as well as teachers and administrators.
Humboldt interim superintendent Lillian Shelton and her staff of professionals came up with the best plan possible, focusing on education while keeping students and staff safe. They knew there would be a learning curve with this “new” type of education of some student coming to class in person two days a week, while others are totally virtual students learning from home.
This put a strain on both students and teachers. Unfortunately some students have fallen behind in their class work due to these circumstances.
Shelton and Elvie Patterson knew they had to do something more to help these students catch up and stay on track. Like many school staff, Patterson wears many hats. She is the RTI2 behavior specialist supervisor, director of parent/student affairs, CASA director, and head of the disciplinary committee. Humboldt City Schools has had a CASA (community after school activities) for years, which is designed to help students get caught up.
“We had to revamp with COVID to be academically focused,” Shelton said. “With two groups of student in person and virtual learners, we still have to have after school programs.”
With fall athletics going on, Shelton talked with all the coaches before school began this year. She wanted to make sure these young athletes keep their grades up. Shelton told all the coaches to keep up with their players’ grades and those who are failing or have incompletes would be given two weeks to make up the work and get it right.
“Students can remain on the team,” Shelton said. “With COVID, we’re giving them a grace period.”
“We have lots of good athletic programs,” Patterson added. “We mandated that all athletic students including cheerleaders get 35 minutes (of additional education time).”
The football teams use the field house for their 35 minutes. Other students are spread throughout the school for protection and social distancing. Jr. high students receive the extra teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the high school on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Virtual students that participate in athletics still come to practice and get the same additional educational time.
CASA is for all students at Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School. There are similar programs at East Elementary School and Stigall Primary School to keep student on track with their education.
And if this weren’t enough, Shelton has taken it upon herself to teach an ACT course after school on Thursdays. Shelton told the coaches, she wants all freshmen to have ACT prep training.
“Last year due to COVID, juniors did not take the ACT,” Shelton said. “I’m giving them a crash course.”
In a typical year, juniors take the ACT in the spring and then take it again during the fall of their senior year. Since this year’s senior were not able to test last spring, they will take the 4-plus ACT test on October 6 and will retake the test again in late October.
In Humboldt, it is mandatory students take the ACT test to graduate. Their score does not count toward their final grades but they must take the test.
Shelton is teaming up with Tony Kendall for the ACT training. Kendall is teaching reading and English while Shelton is teaching math and science.
Even virtual students will have to attend class in person to take the ACT tests.
There are four keys Shelton urges students to use when taking the ACT—get plenty of rest the night before, time management, practice before you test and have a plan.
In this day of COVID learning, Shelton and her crew are having to think outside the box and find different ways to keep students on track. But in this ever-changing world, plans are subject to change at a moment’s notice.