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RUNNING HEAD: WDWD: WHAT DOES WILCO DO!

HELPING STUDENTS AT RISK

WDWD: What Does Wilco Do! Helping Students at Risk


Karen Aldworth
University of New England

WDWD: WHAT DOES WILCO DO! HELPING STUDENTS AT RISK

WDWD: What Does Wilco Do! Helping Students at Risk


My Principal made a statement at our opening teacher education day this year that rang
true within the first five minutes of the first day of school. Mrs. Kaufman asked us to not make
quick judgments on the ability of the students to pass our class. We were to have the expectation
that all students will succeed. My first session of students includes two young ladies, both
Seniors, who walked in with such a defiant attitude and posture, I knew it was going to be an
interesting year. With our first semester coming to a close, the ending for Genesis and Brittany
are both successes and both so different. Stay tuned.
Wilco has a Student Services department that consists of an Assistant Principal for
Student Services and two education tutors. The office is open every day to any student who
needs assistance with testing, homework, extended time on assignments, test and assignment
modification, college financial aid advice and job seeking skills. The at risk students attending
Wilco are identified through communication with the sender schools. The students home school
relays the IEP information for special education students and each month, Student Services
provides me with a course specific progress monitor that I complete and return to Student
Services for review, a copy is made and sent to the students case manager at the home school. If
a student does not have an IEP and is experiencing difficulty, it is then my responsibility to
introduce them to the help that Student Services provides.
Since my students are mostly Seniors, I do ask them at the beginning of the school year if
they want to use their learning accommodations while attending Wilco. If after a couple of
weeks of testing and assignments I see low grades, I readdress Student Services with the student
and insist they take their tests in the Student Services classroom (DuFour, R., Dufour, R., &
Eaker, R., 2008). This year the results have been very favorable for all of my students using

WDWD: WHAT DOES WILCO DO! HELPING STUDENTS AT RISK

Student Services. I would like to highlight my two young ladies from first session. Brittany was
very adamant regarding not using Student Services. When she took her midterm and the grade
was low enough for me to pull her from the course, I allowed her to retake the exam using her
accommodations with the stipulation that all future tests were to be taken in Student Services if
she was to stay in the course. As stated in Dufour, et al (2008), I became increasingly directive. I
really pushed her these last nine weeks and honestly wanted her out of my class. Yesterday was
her semester final and she received a 92%. She hugged me and told me that I was her favorite
teacher ever. Genesis was placed in my class because there was nowhere else for her go. She is
in an alternative setting and was in need of credits to graduate. After three difficult weeks and a
failing grade, an agreement was made with her case manager and parent for Genesis to finish
first semester at Wilco, not participate in clinical and hopefully receive a passing grade. Genesis
has been able to maintain a D with Student Services help and course modifications, however, as
agreed, will not return to Wilco for second semester due to incorrect placement.
I believe Wilco does a really good job at providing services to the special education
students however there are other circumstances which put a student at risk. There needs to be
a system in place for all students who are experiencing difficulty learning (DuFour, et al). Since
the classroom for Student Services is relatively small, I will need to integrate a system in my
classroom. I have a very diverse academic population and I do not want to bore or hold back the
students who are not struggling. A lesson that plans to enrich the information taught as well as
reinforce it for struggling students is the key (DuFour, et al). Next semester, I will dedicate time
in my day for just that. And I will communicate the changes to my instructional agenda to the
administration in my weekly lesson plans.

WDWD: WHAT DOES WILCO DO! HELPING STUDENTS AT RISK

Reference
DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., (2008). Intervention and enrichment in a
professional learning community. Revisiting professional learning
communities at work. New insights for improving schools. (pp. 241-281) Bloomington,
IN: Solution Tree