Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2001

EHS programs give hope for some students

April 26, 2001

Keri Brown is thankful for second chances. The 18-year-old senior had problems early in her Eudora High career, which caused her to fall behind in some classes. Now, through her hard work and the help of some programs at EHS, Brown will be graduating with her class in May.

Brown is involved in the Plato/New Frontiers program at EHS. Now just over a year old, the program helps students catch up in classes in which they have fallen. In the program, students work one-on-one with teachers. They also complete computer programs with areas of study designed to meet a student's specific needs.

"The only way I could graduate on time was to do this," she said.

Erik Peltzman, aide, has worked with the program since it started. Peltzman said there have been significant changes since the program began. Before, students were merely part of the program, but not considered actual students at EHS.

"Now, I get individual students who were referred to me," he said. "I put them on a roster and now they're actual students."

Peltzman said students in the program are independent in their studying. Brown said that type of studying arrangement was helpful to her.

"You go at your own pace," she said. "You go faster or slower. It's just a really good program I think."

One of the biggest benefits the program offers is it helps catch students who have fallen to the wayside, Peltzman said. The demand is greater as more students who have failed classes use the program.

"The need has increased in that students who slipped through the cracks or flunked a class, now we have something to offer them," Peltzman said.

While Plato/New Frontiers helps students who are working their way up, the New Horizons program helps catch them before they fall.

New Horizons works as a resource program after school, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students use computers, library resources and help from aids such as Peltzman for assignments. Currently, 30 students are enrolled in the program. Peltzman said 28 have shown improvement in their studies in the past year.

For those who improved, the difference was parental involvement, Peltzman said. When students are motivated and their parents are involved with their schoolwork, the results are good.

Of course, there are changes Peltzman would like to see within the two programs. More computers and more tutors and professional assistance would be beneficial to the students.

Peltzman said he'd like to see more kids get involved in the New Horizons program, so they can be helped early and avoid making up classes through the Plato/New Frontiers program.

"We're really trying to catch the problem before they get there," he said. "We won't see that in the future. We'll see a lot fewer kids with those (failed) classes stacked up.

"Before, we had nothing to offer those students and now we have programs to offer each student."

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