Students deem A+ period a success

Eryka Hackett, Advertising Manager

A new Advisory Plus, also known as the A+ period, was introduced this fall to serve as a study hall for students. The period allows students who have difficulty passing SOLs to attend remediation courses. All students can use the period to make up quizzes and tests or to complete course work.
Senior Tia Jackson, who is receiving remediation for the Algebra II SOL test thinks the intended purpose of A+ won’t be achieved due to the rowdy atmosphere in her advisory.
“I really wish the A+ would actually help my grades, but it’s not going to,” Jackson said. “I realized that a lot of the people I failed [the SOL] with aren’t the most motivated students to begin with. Now they’re in advisory with me and instead of being remediation, it’s just a pity party. The people who actually want to pass don’t have the opportunity to because of [distractions] caused by the kids who don’t care if they pass or fail again.”
Forty-seven percent of FHS students expect a dramatic increase in their grades and academic performance as a result of the A+ period.
“I think the A+ will help improve my grades,” sophomore J.R. Sweeney said. “Now I have time to work on my homework and actually get class work turned in on time without stressing.”
Math teacher Mary Violett teaches remediation and says that her students are determined to achieve better scores on their SOL tests.
“I think having the advisory plus every day can benefit all the students,” Violett said. “Having the remediation consistently everyday should help improve the SOL scores. The students who are remediating want to be here and seem to be very motivated.”
The A+ period gives students with after school obligations, such as jobs and sports, an opportunity to reduce the amount of school work they need to complete at home.
“For some students, I think [the A+ period] is very beneficial,” senior Nathan Catchings said. “For athletes, we’re all too tired to go home and do homework. After long practices you just want to go home, shower, and sleep, so it gives us an opportunity to lessen the workload.”
Along with giving students extra time on assignments, the A+ period offers what some consider a much needed break in their hectic school days.
“I like having homework in the middle of the day because it gives me a break in between classes,” Catchings said. “I don’t dread the entire day as much as I used to before the new A+ schedule.”
Although 32 percent of students consider A+ a waste of time, Principal Clarence Burton disagrees.
“[A+] gives us flexibility,” Burton said. “It’s only a half hour and you can’t get everything done, but you can get a lot done. Having the opportunity to go see teachers on a one-on-one basis [is an advantage for students]. [The A+ period] is only limited by what we make it.”
Band teacher Andrew Paul uses the period to give the steel pan club some rehearsal time each Tuesday.
“Mr.Paul has marching band practice right after school, so A+ is the only time we can practice for steel pan,” junior John Snyder said. “It would be much more difficult to try to play the instrument well if we didn’t have time to work on the fundamentals together during A+.”
Band students can also go to the band room for individual practice during the A+ period.
“Practicing in [the band room] is really helpful because I can work on pieces for auditions or parts I need extra practice on,” Snyder said. “Being able to practice individually helps me hear my own sound better so I can tune with the entire ensemble better and create a more rounded sound.”