GAYVILLE — The Gayville-Volin school is starting to get away from the traditional ways of teaching students.
Instead, the school made a slight alteration to its calendar in order to connect more with certain students.
Now, every other week, Gayville-Volin will have school four days a week with no school on that Monday. But school will still be in session in the form of student enrichment days. Students who are having trouble in class or want some extra help are invited by the teachers to come in and get that assistance.
"I think some students don't always excel in a classroom size of 25 kids, and sometimes they want to ask different questions, but they don't want to be singled out and are afraid that others will think it's a stupid question," said Gayville-Volin superintendent Jason Selchert. "Now, they have the opportunity in a smaller setting."
Gayville-Volin started student enrichment days at the beginning of this school year. It's an idea Selchert and the rest of the staff had been kicking around over the summer.
"We had been toying with the idea of how to try and help students who are struggling and who never get enrichment activities," he said. "We came up with a school calendar that would accomplish both of the goals, talked about it for a couple of months and then decided to give this schedule a try for a year."
The new system allows teachers to do more than just teach in the front of the classroom. It also allows them to start new programs they normally wouldn't be able to because they must teach the assigned curriculum in an assigned time.
"All the teachers talk about what they would like to do in class but they can't because of the numbers and the time constraints," Selchert said. "They are on board with the goals that we are trying to do and understand the goals of helping students who need it."
Selchert said there are usually up to four students in each classroom during student enrichment days.
Certain students are invited to participate in student enrichment days, but the school isn't turning away any students who want to come in for extra help.
"Some kids who are taking college level class have class on Mondays anyway, but they decide to stay as well when haven't had to be here," Selchert said. "So far, the feedback I have heard from students is that it's nice time if they need extra help from the teachers."
Student enrichment days have only taken place twice during the school year, with the next one set to take place this upcoming Monday.
But so far, Selchert said the days have gone well.
"The turnout was 95 percent in kindergarten through fifth grade with the students that were scheduled to come in," he said. "It was lower in the middle and high school, but it was still very well received."
Even though the turnout has been good for student enrichment days, it will be how the grades stack up that will determine the program's future.
Since it's still early in the year, it's too soon to see the impact student enrichment days have had on the students' grades.
"It's too early to tell, but from judging from the students, teachers and parents, they like the change," Selchert said. "I think it's a good concept, but it's going to take more time to determine whether it's successful and how we would like it to be."
Selchert said the evaluation of the program will be made at the beginning of the spring semester, but he expects only positive results for the program.
"We will get the feedback in February or March with the good and the bad, and we have a ways to go before the decision will be made," he said. "But my gut feeling is that things are going well enough that we will continue to do it for the rest of the year, and tweak a few things for next year."