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IST: A look at Farmington’s latest instructional policy

Math+teacher+Kim+Adams+fills+out+IST+for+student.
Math teacher Kim Adams fills out IST for student.

Math teacher Kim Adams fills out IST for student.

Math teacher Kim Adams fills out IST for student.

Julia Szwarc, Editor

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With the first year of the newly implemented Instructional Support Time (IST) coming to a close, students and staff reflect on the way time has been utilized and the overall positives and negatives of the new addition to the schedule, and how it came about.

According to math teacher and main facilitator Kimberly Adams, IST was implemented as an intervention to help support students in the hopes of reducing failures. It allows students to make up tests, get help from teachers or study in any class they like every Wednesday.

On paper the goals are very clear, but when it comes to execution the results can be different than expected. While students can choose how to use their IST periods, some teachers feel as though the time is not utilized in the most efficient way.

“The largest complaint is that many students misuse/waste their time,” said Adams.

Though the misusage of time may be an issue at this point, administration plans on continuing IST into next school year but with constant improvements.

“We are certainly still working on making it a useful part of our week,” said Adams.

In the classroom, though some teachers may have some trouble with students utilizing it to its full potential, history teacher Lisa Sievert appreciates the addition of IST as a means to support growth and improvement for her students.

“Many students make up work more than before,” said Sievert.

On the student side of the narrative, students from different classes value the introduction of the extra time added into their school day for make-up work mainly. Kelli Weigold, 1,1 expressed her appreciation.

“I definitely find it very useful to have time built into my classes to work on stuff or meet up with teachers if I need them and it makes it less stressful to miss school if I need to,” said Weigold.

Hafsa Hussain, 12, agreed.

“I definitely used it, especially when I was absent. I would go make up tests during IST and get help from teachers because otherwise I would’ve had to go in early, and that is not an option,” said Hussain.

Students that utilize this time also acknowledge the fact that some of their peers may misuse or abuse this time. According to Weigold, though she feels a majority of the students appreciate the extra time given, she also feels that the time is not being used as efficiently as it could be.

“Teachers would like to see kids studying more (even if their homework is done) since an extra 55 minutes per week is not too much to ask.  For many students, they have found this time useful and get a lot accomplished by staying on task,” said Adams.

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IST: A look at Farmington’s latest instructional policy