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HUB helping students succeed

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MOUNT IDA – The HUB is shaping up to be a valuable tool in the education of some students at Mount Ida who may need more than a traditional school setting.
Superintendent Hal Landrith introduced the program earlier this year as a way to offer an alternative to students who may need more thant the regular class schedule. The program offers a flexible schedule to allow for any number of needs among students.
Jeff Warden currently serves as the programs facilitator. Warden, who is certified to teach all subjects, enjoys the opportunities the program offers students as well as himself.
“The program provides a level of diversity our students don’t normally get in a regular class room.” He said.
Students gather in a classroom at the school and are given the opportunity to work at their own pace. Classes are taken through Arkansas Virtual Classroom, an online classroom setting. Students are required to “zoom” twice a week. Warden explains that “zoom” is the live online classroom.
Students are involved in an online classroom setting that includes students from across the state. Warden stated that while Mount Ida may not be very ethnically diverse, the virtual classroom is. This allows students to be exposed to students from a variety of backgrounds.
Zoom also allows students to interact with their teacher. Warden is quick to point out that this is not a correspondence course. The virtual classroom setting allows students and teachers to see one another and interact much the same way they would in a traditional classroom. Students can also set up individual meetings with their online instructors if needed.
Warden is also on hand to help students with their work throughout the week. Being certified to teach all subjects gives him a well rounded background that allows him to help students with a wide range of subjects.
Students are enrolled in many of the same classes as their school mates not in the program. They have to follow the same curriculum as every other student. What the program allows is an opportunity to work at their own pace. They are given a list of expectations and goals which must be met by the end of the term.
The flexibility of the program allows students with different needs to attend class and either get caught up, or involve themselves with tasks outside the school setting.
Some of the students who qualify are able to attend school on an abbreviated schedule and work the rest of the day. The HUB allows Brett Cannon to work at his family’s donut shop in town during the morning and come to class in the afternoon. He shared that he only needed one class to graduate and under the traditional system he would have had to take six classes that he didn’t need.
“I don’t know, I wouldn’t have done very well in that.” He said. He added that he was afraid it would have brought his GPA down because he wouldn’t have taken the unnecessary classes seriously.
Principal Ron McGuire stated that a lot of the school’s discipline issues came from older students who only had a class or two they had to take their senior year. Students were bored most of the day because they were either working as a teacher’s aide, or they were in classes they didn’t need to take. He stated that so far this year he has seen a significant drop in disciplinary issues.
Some students find themselves in the program for personal reasons. Christen Smith stated that she had moved to Mount Ida after attending Two Rivers her whole life. She stated that coming to a new school had been very stressful and the program had offered her a way to finish school without a lot of the social stress that comes with moving to a new school. She added that she gets bored with school easily and HUB allows her to come to school, get her classwork done and leave.
Others find themselves in the program because of a deficiency in their work. Corbin Williams, a junior at Mount Ida, admitted that he was there because he had fallen behind. He explained that he had trouble with getting along with some of the teachers in the past and this had caused him to fall behind. Since entering the HUB program this year he is achieving A’s and B’s in all his classes. The program allows him to catch up on the courses he may have failed in the past while working on a current work load.
The program also allows for students who qualify to leave campus to take college classes, work, volunteer, or take care of children or family members.
One of the things that all of the students shared was a participant in the program must be self motivated if they are going to succeed in the program.
Warden stated that the program isn’t for everyone. If a student enters the program they can re-enter the traditional curriculum if things aren’t working for them in the HUB program. Students are also allowed to take a traditional class at Mount Ida if they so choose.
Warden added that just because a student is in the HUB program doesn’t mean they aren’t a part of the Mount Ida School District. HUB students are able to participate in all extra curricular activities. They qualify for scholarships just like everybody else.
He added that what it does is provide an alternative learning environment for students who may need something different than a traditional classroom setting.
For more information please contact Principal Ron McGuire at  (870) 867-2771.