Students Improve Grades with Extra School on SaturdaysScheduling three hours of class time on a weekend means students improve grades with extra school on Saturdays

For years Ross Elementary third-grader teacher Robin Peterson worked in Dallas Independent School District at exemplary campuses. Children were excelling in school and despite high marks they were attending what’s been dubbed Saturday school, or more intensive instruction for a few hours each weekend.

Now back in Odessa where Peterson was born and raised, she introduced the idea to Ross Principal Lety Amalla. Teachers bought into it, students started showing up and the results are revealing themselves in regular Monday through Friday classes.

Small Group Tutoring

“On a Saturday when there’s fewer kids, you can cover so much in three hours. You eliminate some of the normal distractions. It’s more intense,” Peterson said just before the 9 a.m. start time on Saturday. She brought in four boxes of donuts — a little perk for the 30 or so children who come each weekend.Students Improve Grades with Extra School on Saturdays

At Ross and other schools in the Ector County Independent School District, such as San Jacinto and Ector Junior High, the focused and small group tutoring is designed to help students catch up and learn at the same rate as their peers. It’s a group of students who are targeted by principals and teachers who need that extra one-on-one attention.

“This is time we devote just to these students. It’s one teacher to every two to three students,” Amalla said. Of course no child would be turned down who wanted to come on Saturday, she added.

“We’re not just looking at passing the test scores, but looking at the child as a whole. Yeah in the end, that progress is our target .. our goal is to progress,” Amalla said.

On a recent weekend, students were filling into the computer lab to get started, most with headphones on reading along. Fifth-grader Edward Trevizo said the math games have helped him better understand working with measurements.

“I like what we do. It’s helping me get better,” Edward said, unprompted.

A mother to a Ross student dropped off her son Saturday and said he loves coming, even if it cuts into Saturday morning cartoons.

“This is making him learn what he needs. And it gets him ready for the big test. Before he had really low grades but he’s raising them little by little,” Vanessa Balderama said.

The methods used during these three-hour Saturday sessions aren’t the norm either. They introduce learning games or use iPads to show off vocabulary words in an interactive way.

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Students Improve Grades with Extra School on Saturdays