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Lanesville passes first 9 weeks with balanced calendar

The first nine-week grading period and week of remediation are over at Lanesville Community School Corp., home to the county’s first and only balanced calendar students.
The calendar contains nearly two full months of summer vacation and three two-week breaks. Within those breaks are optional week-long ‘intercession’ periods primarily for struggling students. Excluding intercession, students still attend the same number of days as other Harrison County students.
The first grading period ended Oct. 1. Most students then began a two-week vacation, but those who attended intercession took up to five days of remediation at the recommendation of their teachers.
‘This was our first intercession so I was really apprehensive as to how it would work. We chose Robin Thieneman as our intercession coordinator … she was formerly our Title 1 coordinator and had a lot of good experience to organize it, and she did a wonderful job,’ Supt. Phil Partenheimer said.
‘And, of course, the teachers came in and followed her recommendations, and they did very well. It just worked very, very well,’ Dr. Partenheimer said.
When the students returned to class Monday to begin the second quarter, 64 kids had attended intercession. The remediation periods were promoted as a primary asset of the balanced calendar because they allow students to concentrate on their weak points at the end of a grading period as opposed to waiting until the end of the academic year.
Testing results and teacher, parent volunteer and peer tutor recommendations were used in compiling a list of students in grades one through six who would be given priority for remediation. In a few cases where students declined, the school moved to the next name on the list.
‘At secondary level … we took students who had Fs and Ds on their report cards in English and math and invited them to come in for English or math or remediation in both,’ Partenheimer said.
By completing and passing their work, those students were given the opportunity to improve their grades by one percentage point each day. Five students increased their letter grade as a result of work done in intercession, Partenheimer said.
Marianne Ward, a junior, was one of those students.
‘We went over the different areas that we were having trouble with. Mine was in algebra. I even learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t know even into pre-cal(culus),’ said Ward, an Academic Honors Diploma track student.
Working on the Plato software program, Nick Emily, a sophomore, came to intercession to improve his English skills.
‘I didn’t really mind coming in as long as I needed it,’ he said.
While kindergarten students were not selected for intercession, between 10 and 15 kindergartners identified academically as ‘high risk’ attend a full day of school as part of Lanesville’s modified full-day program.
As for students not attending intercession, ‘I know there were several vacations to Florida and that sort of thing,’ Partenheimer said.
Sports continued to practice and David Henke held an art enrichment program.
Prior to the beginning of the school year, Partenheimer said, the balanced calendar had an 80-percent approval rate. While considering the calendar’s adoption, school administrators cited schools where the calendar gained popularity once in operation. They said they expected the same at Lanesville.
‘One little girl said, ‘I finally understand fractions,’ ‘ recounted Tim Bridges, Lanesville Junior-Senior High School principal who turned bus driver during intercession.
Bridges is convinced of the merits of intersession.
‘It’s better than waiting until June to go over stuff you are struggling with in October,’ he said.