St. Croix Central honors study hall draws parent’s ireLast month’s lengthy discussion pertaining to the use of Honors Study Hall (HSH) as an incentive to encourage students to perform better ended with St. Croix Central School Board President Howard Kruschke expressing his concern that students who do not qualify for HSH end up stigmatized by their fellow students.
By: By Tom Lindfors, New Richmond News
Last month’s lengthy discussion pertaining to the use of Honors Study Hall (HSH) as an incentive to encourage students to perform better ended with St. Croix Central School Board President Howard Kruschke expressing his concern that students who do not qualify for HSH end up stigmatized by their fellow students.
His concerns came home to roost as the board was subjected to a lengthy diatribe delivered by Kara LaVenture, an assistant principal in the St. Paul, Minn. school system and mother to a seventh-grader enrolled at SCC Middle School. Upon being “rescheduled” (moved from HSH to regular study hall), LaVenture’s daughter asked, “I do not understand why it is I am being moved. I try hard. I have good grades. I work hard on my tests. Could you please call and find out what is going on. I do not like being labeled and asked by my fellow students why have you been put in dumb dumb study hall.”
LaVenture, reading from a prepared statement, began her complaint by documenting numerous phone conversations, emails and meetings, which involved both Middle School Principal Scott Woodington and Superintendent David Bradley. Her characterization of those meetings ranged from condescending to intimidating. LaVenture said she had no recourse but to bring the matter directly to the attention of the board.
In theory, students who are rescheduled to regular study hall are assigned based on their academic deficiencies to rooms overseen by teachers of specific disciplines like math, science, English, etc. where they can receive “interventions” from the appropriate teacher.
LaVenture stated that even though Mikenna’s deficiency was in math, she was assigned to an English teacher’s study hall, a subject she excelled at. LaVenture summed up her impression of the school’s administration as, “Rules are rules and your policies are far more important than academic learning or student needs” and she thanked the board for their attention.
Kruschke said he empathized with LaVenture’s situation and responded by asking, “What are you ultimately hoping to get out of this? What are the specifics?”
LaVenture answered she hoped to accomplish three things; first that HSH policies be reviewed and changed for future years. She noted that Woodington had called her that morning to report that such a review was underway and she saw that as “a huge improvement.”
Secondly she encouraged the board to monitor the conduct of the administration. She felt if their words and actions don’t indicate that they have the best interest of students in mind, it’s a big problem. She emphasized the teacher-student relationship is the most important factor in students learning successfully followed only by the influence of leadership on teachers.
Lastly she asked the board to examine the grievance process itself. She pointed out; her next resort could have been a Department of Public Instruction Investigation. Kruschke assured LaVenture that the board does take these matters seriously and promised to examine the issue further to see what options are available to remedy the situation.
For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.