Perspectives on PowerHour Check-ins

Ms.+Dougherty+helping+out+a+student+during+PowerHour.

Ms. Dougherty helping out a student during PowerHour.

Carlie Clements, Staff Writer

At the beginning of this school year, many teachers added a new requirement to their curriculum: PowerHour check-ins.

When the teacher requires PowerHour check-ins, a student must visit their teacher during PowerHour a certain amount of times within a portion of the trimester, or the trimester as a whole; the amount of times they must visit varies by teacher. Teachers and administration implemented this in the efforts of improving students’ grades and making them more aware of what is occurring in their classes.

During these Check-ins, a student may be asked to do things such as missing work, classwork, check grades, and more.

With any new change, such as this one, there will be several different opinions pertaining to it, opinions that are quite contrasting between the student body and teachers.

The Central Times took a poll of teacher and student perspectives on the implementation of PowerHour Check-ins. 

Thirteen of the teachers who have applied this to their student’s grade calculation and thirty students who have been directly affected by the change have responded.

Five of the students who responded had to complete check-ins for every one of their five classes.

When these students were asked if they liked the PowerHour Check-in system, many students agreed that they, in fact, did because it helped them stay on top of their grade, made them aware of missing assignments, shown the students’ level of responsibility, and is a great way to get to know their teachers.

One student said that PowerHour Check-ins are very important, “to ensure that all of their students are on the same page and get the same help,” but not all feel the same way.

Some of the thirty students expressed their dislike for the implementation because they feel it poses an infringement on their own personal time, it is unnecessary for students who have exceptional grades, and it is hard to manage check-ins for several teachers.

Another issue that was brought up was stress.

An anonymous student said their reason for  not liking PowerHour Check-ins is, “because it stresses me out, way too much!”

Along with all the other daily stresses of school check-ins just seem to have been a bit much for some students.

An additional topic that was brought up in the voluntary comments section of the survey is whether or not the check-ins are necessary for certain students.

“I think for students who have an A in the class, it’s unnecessary and a waste of their time,” said one student who dislikes PowerHour Check-ins.

The survey showed that, three-fourths through the first trimester this 10% of the students questioned had not yet even begun to complete required PowerHour Check-ins.

Some of the students’ concerns may not be too worrisome, such as stress.

The majority of the teachers said that check-ins are only a small portion of their grade calculation and will not pose much if any of a threat to a student’s GPA.

A few teachers who experimented with the idea during the first trimester have seen some negative results.

One anonymous teacher stated that “my students’ grades have been lower due to this requirement (and I only require them to come three times per trimester. One time can be a simple grade check and the other two must be full halves).” 

This result was only shown by a few teachers and can be simply solved by visiting the teacher three times during the twelve weeks.

One teacher expressed that it is frustrating when a student doesn’t show up to check-in, “when it’s the ones who need it most.”

10 of the 13  teachers who took the poll said that the majority of their students have complied with this new requirement, meaning students from at least three teachers’ classes either chose not to or were unable to take on the task.

While most teachers have said that check-ins have not caused any inconvenience for them, one teacher said, “I have had to track down students for skipping and it has caused more behavior issues than necessary.” This may lead to a multitude of issues, such as a drop in grades and more students being disciplined, by A.I.M. or other alternatives like Saturday School.

A second teacher feels an issue of inconvenience related to this change as well, as they must take count of students attending and feel it is much like having to prepare for an additional class each day.  

“I have students needing actual tutoring and I’m trying to do grade check-ins for 10 students at once.  It also feels like I have an extra class to plan for since I must have something for students to do when they are with me the whole half.”

Others have also said that issues like this have led to students spending too much time in Second Chance Lunch.

“I really do like the idea of check-ins, but I did not anticipate the stress that comes with it,” explains a teacher that completed the poll.

For those reasons, while 85% of the teachers who have taken the poll do believe that PowerHour Check-ins are, in fact, necessary, but three feel they are not.

Although some may have trouble with student compliance and other problems with the new routine, all of the teachers questioned expressed that the requirement should be in place for the remainder of the year.

One individual teacher still has hope that “maybe students will be more responsible during this second trimester.”