WILMINGTON — Two noticeable changes at Wilmington schools this fall are longer classes in math and English Language Arts (ELA) at the middle school, and an electronic hall pass system at the middle and high schools.
All middle-school math and ELA classes are now 80 to 85 minutes, whereas last year they were between 50 to 55 minutes, said Co-Principal Bert Martini. That amounts to about half an hour longer each time they meet.
The additional time for these basic subject areas are intended to help meet student needs, he said. Some people speak of ELA and English classes interchangeably — in short, ELA classes are meant to improve proficiency in language and the writing process.
The plan is that the extra time will be used for “interventions and enrichments,” Martini said.
Interventions target academic needs. Often, they’re used to help kids who are struggling with math or reading.
Instructional enrichments, on the other hand, are for students who have mastered the new material.
Martini said they’ve worked with the teachers on how to manage the add-on time “with the different interventions and enrichments that they do with different groups of kids based on the information that we have about those kids.”
Wilmington High School Assistant Principal Dustin James said they worked hard to implement the new electronic pass system to be utilized in the high and middle schools.
The system enables the school to track how often students are requesting passes, the location and time of day of passes, the number of students who request a pass at a specific time, and more, said James.
“This system will allow us to manage hall passes electronically and more effectively,” the assistant principal said.
During James’ report Monday to the school board, he said there were over 50 WHS students enrolled in the summer school program and collectively they earned over 50 credits toward graduation.
Interestingly, approximately half the students worked remotely from home, while the other half attended in-person learning sessions, he said.
Last Friday at the middle school a program called Cane Connection was conducted to help build connections among the students and their teachers, reported Martini.
During two-hour segments for each grade level, there were eight different activities of 15 minutes each.
Many of the activities, which Martini said were not academic, are things where students worked together to try and do something difficult.
Then, the teachers leading those stations pointed out ‘OK you were able to struggle through this — helping your classmates as you worked through this — this is how we need to work through the school year also’,” related Martini.
Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel reported the grades 3-through-5 children in that building will be practicing fire, tornado and stay-put safety drills later this week.
Marilee Tanner, who is principal at Holmes Elementary which houses grades K through 2, said the first couple days there saw them doing a lot of routines and procedures, explaining it’s important to teach the little ones “how to do school.”
She said there are more teacher’s aides at the school this year, who bring classroom support.
New Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Supt. Jim Brady, participating in his first monthly WCS Board of Education meeting, said he had done daily walk-throughs in all the school buildings, and had the opportunities to attend the senior class expectation and protocol session, as well as the middle school’s Cane Connection Day.
The superintendent has met with Great Oaks Career Campuses CEO Harry Snyder, and said the two will have some follow-up discussion about the possibility of career/technical education in grades 7 and 8 next year at Wilmington Middle School.
School board members approved the 2022-2023 elementary grades handbook. It is accessible online.
The WCS district received a donation from Wilmington Auto Center of 12 backpacks filled with school supplies.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.