Seminar affected by Mentoring Mondays and PLC change

Decision for Mentoring Mondays made by PBIS committee

Angie+DalBello+leads+a+social+studies+Professional+Learning+Community+meeting+on+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+17.+

By Photo by Jena Smith

Angie DalBello leads a social studies Professional Learning Community meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Nick Booth, JagWire copy editor

This fall, every student in the school experienced radical changes to their seminar schedule.

Seminar is now closed on Mondays for mentoring, giving teachers time to check up on and interact with their students. In addition, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are now during seminar instead of after school, meaning that core teachers are also not available once a week during seminar.

The goal of Mentoring Mondays is not only to help teachers keep an eye on student’s grades, but also to foster positive relationships between teachers and students.

This change comes as a result of a district initiative named Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, which aims to improve student performance and behavior in the classroom. Each school is given freedom as to how they wish to implement the program and Mentoring Mondays is the way Mill Valley is doing it. This decision was made within the school’s PBIS committee and then approved by the school’s administration.

Sophomore Tatum Doser isn’t happy about not being able to see her teachers on those Mondays.

“I don’t like them because once you find out about your grades, you have to go to your teachers to help fix them,” Doser said.

The PBIS committee is primarily made up of teachers as well as an administrator and counselor. The committee makes decisions pertaining to the school’s PBIS policies, which in the past have included Early Release and the creation of the Class Cup competition.

PBIS committee member Ashley Agre is excited about the new program.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Agre said. “I am loving this time that I have with my students where I’m not interrupted. I’m looking at their grades every single Monday, I don’t have to worry about any students coming in and distracting me from that.”

Although the changes have been beneficial for some, some have made life for senior Haley Dozier more difficult.

“On Mondays I often need to go and talk to teachers,” Dozier said.  “I like to go to [technology teacher Helga] Brown’s room when I need a computer to get work done, but now it’s much harder.”

Physics teacher Alyssa Meyer thinks the changes aren’t necessarily for the best.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s harder for students to get help on two or three days of the week,” Meyer said.

The second major change to seminars is that department PLCs are now scheduled during seminar. This means that teachers are not available in certain designated seminars, making it more difficult for students to visit their teachers. Also, students in the seminar of a teacher with a PLC must travel to other classrooms for seminar. Social studies and English PLCs are on Wednesdays during seminar and math and science PLCs are on Thursdays during seminar. Elective teachers meet once a month on Tuesdays.

Despite this, math teacher Brian Rodkey thinks students can still benefit from the new seminar schedule.

“I understand students’ thoughts about, you know, it takes time and we have PLCs during seminar also, and what kind of an impact that can have,” Rodkey said. “And I understand the thought on that, but I also know that there are a lot of students who don’t use their seminar time as wisely as they could.”

However, junior Rohit Biswas is still skeptical about the changes.

“It just restricts the ability of students,” Biswas said. “Leaving seminar means that you’re making an effort to be educational and productive, and Mentoring Mondays just restricts that flow.”

The PBIS committee plans to meet again in October to discuss the issue further. Agre is still in favor of the program.

“It’s also nice to have that time set aside so I can really watch [the students’] grades week to week,” Agre said. “I’ll notice if there’s anything major that changes. And that’s our job as teachers, is to help these kids out, develop a relationship with them, and especially in seminar, help them be the most successful they can be.”

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