BRENTWOOD -- What a difference 30 minutes makes.
That's what Heritage High School officials are hoping, anyway, as they prepare for the resumption of classes next week.
The Brentwood school will be setting aside a half-hour twice a week to help students who are falling behind as well as provide enrichment activities for those with good grades.
Dubbed "Patriot Plus," the pilot project will require young people at all grade levels to spend the last 30 minutes of the school day on Mondays and Thursdays either getting extra help in classes where they're struggling or being challenged with lessons that aren't part of the regular curriculum.
The first group will be assigned to teachers who will coach the students as long as necessary in the subjects giving them trouble, whether those are "core classes" or electives such as ceramics and video production.
The others will sign up online for opportunities to explore the subjects they're studying in more depth as well as to take workshops on topics such as how to fill out a college application, Oshodi said.
Heritage High is making these specialized sessions part of the regular school day because until now the only time that teachers could offer additional tutoring was before and after classes, Principal Larry Oshodi said.
"Usually, the students who needed the most help were not able to come in," he said, noting that transportation problems or scheduling conflicts often got in the way.
Carving out a slot from 2:30 to 3 p.m. when they would be at school anyway solves that problem, Oshodi said.
This two-pronged outreach has been a couple of years in the planning, he said, adding that it originated with a group of teachers as they discussed what they could do for teens who aren't learning what they should as well as for those who are.
In evaluating the effectiveness of "Patriot Plus," the school will review the quarterly grades of students who were having trouble as well as poll their higher-performing peers on whether they thought the enrichment sessions were helpful, Oshodi said.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141.