SIKESTON - Maybe the student didn't grasp a concept that was presented in class or he had an excused absence that day.
Whatever the reason, Sikeston Public Schools wants students who have fallen behind to have every opportunity to catch up and the teaching staff is willing to go above and beyond to make it happen.
Formally initiated this year, the After-School Tutoring Program is designed to give students in elementary through senior high school the extra help they need.
Students participating in the program receive help in small groups and each building has a plan that works best for its students. The number of students who take advantage of the program varies from week to week and building to building, but educators believe the program will make a difference.
"Many students need additional help to grasp a particular objective that is being taught in class," explained Kathy Boldrey, assistant superintendent of curriculum/middle grades. "After-school tutoring is very beneficial for these students.
"Some students have fallen behind their peers and need extended time to catch up," she said. "These are the students that need a formalized after-school program to work on skills necessary for their success in school. The After-School Program can be very successful for them, especially when the parents get involved and follow through at home."
Students are recommended for the program by teachers and parents. SPS also looks at grades and test scores to identify additional students for the program.
"We are in the process of sending a letter to all parents of students who scored Level 1 on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test with an explanation of that score and how their child can change that by attending the After-School Tutoring," said Dr. Larry Bohannon, assistant superintendent of secondary education and professional development.
"Students could improve their scores even by attending tutoring from now until MAP Test time."
The length of time a student stays in the program depends on individual needs.
"Many students and parents have seen this program as a very positive step toward helping with academic success," said Boldrey. "We work hard to not have this appear to be less than a positive situation."
As curriculum director of the middle grades, Boldrey pointed out that it is in middle school when many students make decisions that are detrimental to their education.
And Bohannon noted the program is important to aid students in junior and senior high in their achievement as well.
"Test scores, whether liked or not, are used for district accreditation as well as college admission," Bohannon pointed out. "Sikeston is proud of its students and strives always to be the best it can be."
The idea behind the program, said Boldrey, is to let students know the school system is willing to put in the extra time it takes to see they succeed.
"For students that are presently attending the tutoring, it seems to be working," said Bohannon.
"Those students scoring Level 1 on the MAP test have the opportunity to improve their scores. Our goal is for all students to score in the proficient and advanced levels," added Bohannon. "We want to offer programs to help students be successful and if students utilize this After-School Tutoring, they will be. We cannot let them fail."