Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Freshmen Get Helping Hand

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Freshmen Get Helping Hand

Article excerpt

Freshman year of high school can be an awkward time - academically and socially. The adjustments from junior high can overwhelm freshmen if they aren't careful.

Cahokia High School is trying something a little different this school year to help cushion the shock for its youngest students.

The whole freshman class of 350 has been divided into four teams. Each team is supervised by four teachers who specialize in English, math, science and social studies.

The teachers make an effort to know all of the student members of their teams and to work together so as not to overload the ninth-graders with homework on any given day.

Thus far, the team approach seems to be working, says Arnold Kinsella, an English teacher on one of the teams.

"The kids appreciate somebody paying attention to them, and we can do that when we get to know them as team members," Kinsella said.

He also is trying to get corporate support to pay for computer equipment and educational materials to keep classes interesting and relevant for the freshmen.

This week, Illinois Power Co. officially became a partner with Cahokia High in the team concept by presenting a check for $900 to school officials to pay for "interactive field trips" to be beamed to the school by a satellite television hook-up. Illinois Power also has donated computers to the school and provided T-shirts for members of the team that Kinsella teaches English.

Kinsella and other Cahokia School District officials accepted the check and thanked representatives of Illinois Power in a brief ceremony at the high school.

"Illinois Power has been very bold and generous in this," Kinsella said. "It's teamwork at its best - teamwork at every level. So far, it's worked out very well for the kids."

One early result of the team concept has been a lack of fights among Cahokia High freshmen this school year, officials said. …

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