What is REAL Time?
Not all students learn in the same way or at the same speed. Some students need to be shown a concept multiple ways or practice a skill with guidance over a longer period of time in order to learn. The traditional block schedule of high school leaves no time in a student's learning day to get extra help or interventions from teachers. Because we are a rural school, many of our students have to catch the bus, so getting help after school is not an option. In addition, many students work, care for siblings, or play competitive sports. Fitting academic support for students into the school day ensures teachers can work with them so they can be successful.
REAL time is a 45 minute block between our first period class and the class before lunch. It is a systematic approach so that ALL students can get the learning help they need to be successful. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students sign up with a specific teacher, study hall or the library. Teachers can have their students sign up with them in order to get extra help on a concept or skill, make up learning from an absence, write a test, study for exams, work on a project with other students or complete their homework. Our model is based on research that indicates the most effective approach to student classroom intervention and supports ensures that instruction time is not being displaced to ensure that all students are learning at grade level or higher.
REAL time is also a time for our academic counselor with work specifically with grade 12 students on general scholarship information, how to write scholarship application essays and applications, how to register for their Alberta Digital IDs, information about Student Financial Aid, post-secondary application information and other important information. For example, in today's REAL time, Ms. Currie has a speaker from SHAD which is an organization that sends grade 10 and 11 students to a variety of Canadian universities for a month in the summer. What an amazing opportunity! We also have had speakers from the banks that provide practical information on loans, credit, and financing, we have had employees from the dealerships provide useful information on purchasing and/or leasing a vehicle. Our goal is to deepen our students' learning so they are successful.
We are encouraging students to take advantage of an opportunity that is not available in a traditional timetable. Although a few students struggle to see the value, many of our students take advantage of this opportunity to access timely feedback and supports outside of class time instead of missing core instruction.
With the understanding that grade twelve students are more mature, we are looking at ways to allow them more autonomy over REAL time. For example, if a student has a period 2 spare, they can sign out if they are successful in their classes and their teachers don't need them to make up for an absence or missed work. Over the next two or three weeks, we will be working with the Student Council and our Principal's Advisory Committee to get some feedback about what this may look like.