The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

To fail or to flourish: Students have lost ownership of their own success

Student+working+on+homework+as+they+decide+what+happens+if+they+fail.%0A
Cassi Paustian
Student working on homework as they decide what happens if they fail.

Pleasant Valley High School is facing an alarming number of students assigned to academic study hall as administration tries to raise the grades of their students. 

Academic study hall can be assigned by a teacher when a student is not completing classwork in a timely manner. Instructors of academic study hall take students’ phones and assist them as they do their homework. This resource is meant to increase focus and comprehension for students with missing assignments and  bring attention to the concepts they might be struggling with.

But each student is different. 

In a school with over 1600 kids, a wide variety of personalities, work ethics and goals are present. At what point can the student decide just how much effort they want to put in?

Story continues below advertisement

Students should be able to make their own decisions. This does not mean that administrators can not offer help and encouragement, but in reality, success comes down to what the student wants. 

Schools often focus on the end goal: letter grades. “I think we have focused so long on having a good reputation as a good school that prepares students for 4 year college, that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that not everyone is going to a 4-year college,” FLEX teacher Randy Brockhage said. 

“Some people in high school have no clue what they are going to do for post-secondary education, and some do not want to pursue any further education,” said Brockhage.

Teachers often look at situations as being based on merely skill or will, suggesting the student is just struggling with the skill or has no will to learn. This can help determine the path they choose in helping the student. But in reality, one can not change someone’s mentality by pushing work upon them. 

Teachers and administrators have to realize not everyone has the same end goal, and not everyone values or enjoys education equally 

“As a school we see [providing outside resources]as help, but the student sees it as punishment. One thing I would say is that all students do not see the same things as teachers, and vice versa. We are coming from one perspective, and they are coming from another,” Brockhage said.

Administrators want students to pass with an in-depth understanding of the content and a high letter grade, but some students just want to pass their classes.

“I think a lot of it came from students after quarantine, it just gave them a chance to give up.  It gave them a way to shut off their brain and never turn it back on. I think the students are not meeting the minimum requirements on reading comprehension and focus. We should focus on that before trying to increase the letter grade. Passing is passing, but comprehension is everything,”  said academic study hall instructor Francis Dunbar. 

Just as students have the decision to attend 8th period for extra help, they should not be forced to attend academic study hall. 

Dunbar said the excess number of students brings an overwhelming amount of extra work on his way. “It is making my job way harder because I am trying to help them move on and the effort isn’t there. We will normally have a week or two with really good progress and then all of a sudden it disappears again.”

This also causes teachers to continuously have to check-in with students, taking more from those who are engaged in the content. 

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Encouraging someone to try something new and see if it helps them understand it is not a bad thing. But pushing a student to a point where they feel punished, embarrassed, and harassed is another.

Dunbar has seen a drastic change in students’ willingness to do work when assigned to academic study hall. “Normally it was kids because they missed a deadline, but now it’s kids that just do not want to do it. I have never [before] seen kids that are okay with getting an F,” Dunbar said. 

Students who have decided the school’s expectations of them do not match their expectations of themselves will eventually choose their own path–one that does not include classroom success. And that should be their right. Each person is different, and each person has their own path post-education. Administration needs to realize not every kid wants to work for the letter grade they want them to receive. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to Spartan Shield
$480
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. Your contribution will allow us to purchase needed equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cassi Paustian, Infographic Manager
Cassi Paustian is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School. Cassi is this year’s infographic manager for the Spartan Shield. At PVHS, her favorite subjects are related to Math and Science. Cassi actively participates in Girls Wrestling for both Pleasant Valley and Young Guns Wrestling Club. Some of her favorite things outside of school are to hang out with friends and family, go kayaking, travel, workout, eat ice cream, and show cattle. Additionally, Cassi was this year’s 2023 Mississippi Valley Fair Queen. In the Fall of 2024, Cassi plans to attend Iowa State University to major in Biological Systems Engineering and minor in Economics. Cassi is very excited for her senior year and taking on the role of infographic manager!

Donate to Spartan Shield
$480
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Spartan Shield Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *