New Bloomfield R-3 to launch Monday Academy

NEW BLOOMFIELD — New Bloomfield R-3 will launch a Monday program to give students in need of academic help an extra boost.

Called Monday Academy, the program is made possible by the switch to a four-day week approved Thursday, Superintendent Sarah Wisdom said.

Monday Academy will be staffed by a rotating selection of teachers, ensuring each teacher still gets to enjoy and use most of their new-found days off. ACT prep classes may be moved from Saturdays to Mondays as well.

Wisdom said, though remedial programs such as tutoring are relatively common at schools, no other Missouri school system currently offers remedial sessions on Mondays.

“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was very intrigued … and impressed with our plan,” Wisdom said during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.

The district currently offers after-school tutoring sessions to a handful of students, and it’s “in the budget to keep tutoring,” Wisdom said. Monday Academy is a way to offer remedial learning to a larger number of students.

“This would be a much larger scale,” she said. “If a child is not meeting (education) benchmarks, they’d be eligible for remediation.”

Wisdom clarified not all eligible students would necessarily be able to use Monday Academy at once, due to its limited staffing.

Board member Todd Schattgen, who voted against the switch to a four-day week later in the meeting, objected to this aspect.

“You’re taking a day of instruction away and only giving it back to a few (students),” Schattgen said.

“There’s tutoring after school, and those teachers already have to prioritize which students need it the most,” Wisdom said. “As (Monday Academy participants meet benchmarks), hopefully we can move them up and bring the next kids in.”

Board member Stacey Allen added teachers might “spread out” tutoring to more children with Monday Academy in place.

Wisdom spent some time breaking down the nitty-gritty details of the new program. A few important points:

• The district will provide busing to and from Monday Academy. “We did that for summer school one year, and we think it’s very manageable,” Wisdom said.

• Each Monday Academy session will last six hours. Elementary Principal Julie Gerloff said some students might do better with a longer session on a fresh brain, rather than a 90-minute tutoring session after a full school day.

• Each Monday Academy will be offered to up to 15 students in first and second grade and 25 students in third through sixth grade. It will be open to more students in middle and high school because older students are able to use online learning resources with greater proficiency, Wisdom said.

• Because Monday Academy falls outside normal school hours, it’s not eligible for free and reduced lunch reimbursements. But Wisdom said the district can “find a way around that” and provide free and reduced-price lunches to qualified participants.

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