What Are Some Middle School and High School Intervention Programs?

Teacher working with high school students in a library
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Intervention has become an important tool for servicing students who struggle academically particularly in reading and/or math. School intervention programs are very popular in elementary schools, but what about middle school and high school? The truth is that the older the student is, the more difficult it becomes to get a student who is behind back on grade level. That doesn’t mean that schools shouldn’t have intervention programs in place for their middle school and high school students. However, these programs should embrace the middle school/high school culture where motivating students becomes half the battle. Motivating students will lead to improvement and growth in all areas of academics.

It is important to understand that what works for one school may not work in another. Each school has its own culture shaped by many external factors. Principals and teachers need to work together to figure out what aspects of a program are applicable to their school’s unique situation. With that in mind, we explore two different middle school/high school intervention programs. They were designed to motivate students to succeed academically to give those struggling students some much needed extra assistance

8th Hour/Saturday School

Premise: Most students do not want to spend extra time at school. This program is aimed at two primary groups of students:

  1. Those students are below grade level in reading and/or math
  2. Those students who often fail to complete or turn in work

This intervention program has been designed with several strategies to help these students. Those include:

  • Requiring students to complete incomplete or missing assignments
  • Providing extra assistance on assignments
  • Providing extra time to complete assignments when a student has been absent
  • Building reading and math skills so as to prepare a student for state testing

The intervention program should be run by a reading specialist or certified teacher and could be held during an "8th hour," or an immediate extension of the school day running every day. Students could also participate in this intervention by serving a Saturday School. This is not intended as student discipline but as an academic aid to success. Each of the four components is broken down below:

Requiring students to complete incomplete assignments or missing assignments

  1. Any student who turns in an incomplete or a zero would be required to serve an 8th hour the day that assignment was due.
  2. If they complete the assignment on that day, then they would receive full credit for that assignment. However, if they do not complete it that day, they should continue to serve 8th hour until the assignment is complete and turned in. The student would only receive 70% credit if they do not turn it in that day. Each additional day it takes to complete an assignment would also add to the count towards a Saturday School as discussed in point four.
  3. After three missing/incomplete assignments, then the maximum a student may score on any missing/incomplete assignment thereafter is 70%. This would penalize students who continuously fail to complete work.
  4. If a student turns in a combination of 3 incomplete and/or zeros during a half-term period, then the student would be required to serve a Saturday School. After they have served a Saturday School, it would reset, and they would have 3 more incomplete/zeros before they are required to serve another Saturday School.
  5. This would reset at the end of each half term.

Providing students with extra assistance on assignments

  1. Any student who needs extra help or tutoring on assignments may voluntarily come in during 8th hour to receive that help. Students should take the initiative for this.

Providing extra time to complete assignments when a student has been absent

  1. If a student is absent, they would be required to spend the day that they returned in 8th hour. This would allow extra time to get the assignments and to complete them, so there is not as much to do at home.
  2. The student would be required to collect their assignments the morning they return.

Building reading and math skills so as to prepare a student for state testing

  1. After cross referencing state testing scores and/or other assessment programs, a small group of students could be selected to be pulled in two days a week to help improve either their reading level or math level. These students would be assessed periodically to monitor their progress. Once they reach their grade level, then they would graduate out in that area. This part of the program is intended to give students skills they are missing and needing to be more successful in math and reading.

Fast Friday

Premise: Students like to get out of school early. This program provides an incentive for students who maintain at least a 70% in all subject areas.

The Fast Friday intervention has been designed to motivate students to keep their grades above a 70% and to provide extra assistance for those students who have grades below a 70%.

Fast Fridays would occur on a bi-weekly basis. On Fast Friday our daily class schedule would be shortened from the traditional school schedule to accommodate an early dismissal following lunch. This privilege would be extended only to students maintaining grades of 70% or above.

Students who have only one class in which they are below a 70% would be required to stay after lunch only for a short time, during which they will receive extra assistance in the class which they are struggling. Students who have two or more classes in which they have below a 70% would be required to stay until the normal dismissal time, during which they will receive extra assistance in each class they are struggling.