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SOL Cram sessions held at Roanoke City Schools

May 11, 2010
  • Welcome to SOL boot camp. It's needed because students lost so many days because of snow.
Welcome to SOL boot camp. It's needed because students lost so many days because of snow.

Thousands of students in Roanoke City are staying after school this week, but they're not in trouble.

Rather you could say old man winter is the one who should be in detention.

Roanoke City lost nearly nine and a half days because of winter weather.

That comes out to 67 hours of instruction time that was missed and that's a concern because the Standards of Learning tests begin next week.

Roanoke City schools are essentially holding cram sessions to help students pass the tests. 

Something similar was done in March for the writing part of the SOL.

Preliminary results from the Department of Education show Roanoke City had its highest scores ever for writing so the school system is doing more of these sessions on a much larger scale.

This may look and sound like a drill sergeant, but she's actually a principal.

And this is no barracks, it's a classroom here at Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

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Welcome to SOL boot camp.

It's needed because students lost so many days because of snow.

Principal Stephanie Hogan said, "When you lose nine days like that it's really hard to catch up unless you built into something there to assist with moving forward with the curriculum."

So for the last two weeks, elementary and middle school students have been staying after school two days, for an additional two hours.

It's a chance to review and reteach material that will be on the Standards of Learning.

Except for providing snacks the sessions are costing the school system very little.

That's because the teachers who choose to participate are doing this for free.

According to teacher Mark Farrell, "This school went years and years without even getting accredited and then we finally did and it was a fabulous feeling and then we did it again last year and it's just we don't want to fall backwards."

Parents can choose to opt out.  However, they must pick their kids up because transportation is not provided until the sessions are over.

Out of the 535 kids at Jackson Middle, 75 did not attend last week.

It's proof administrators say that parents and students realize drastic times call for drastic measures.

Teacher Mark Farrell said, "I bet the kids will tell you that they enjoy this and that the momentum is starting to roll and they're going to do well on their tests."

The principal and administrators at central office acknowledge they have received some complaints from parents but they describe them as minimum.

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