Beth C. Rubin
My first semester report card was almost all F's, but now that I am in MOST getting my work done I'm not getting any F's.
(Missy, 1 tenth grade MOST student)
When one enters teacher Steven Hesperian's room during fourth period the overwhelming impression is that everyone is very busy. The room is large and sunny, with many windows, a bank of computers, and individual student desks arranged in casual groupings. On a typical day, some students are sitting by themselves and others are sitting in small groups. A few students are at the computers, others are working with Janelle Barry, the Chapter I instructional aide, and some have left for the library, the computer center, or other teachers' classrooms. Almost without exception students are engaged in school-related tasks.
The students themselves confirm this understanding of what goes on in Making Our Success Today (MOST), a support class for ninth and tenth grade students at Mountain High School. "In MOST you do your work," Tommy, a student struggling in his academic classes, told me. "The teachers help you so you can do your work." Missy, quoted above, attributed her academic reversal to "getting my work done" in the MOST class. These students are telling us, in plain language, about the type of support that is meaningful and necessary to them.
Some educational researchers call for whole school reform and structural changes in order to meet the needs of "at risk" students. Others advocate deep-seated changes in curriculum and pedagogy. Proponents of high stakes testing believe that this approach will raise achievement for all children by holding schools accountable for student scores. This chapter supplements these more sweeping reform prescriptions with what the students themselves say they need - an inventory of supports, strikingly concrete and immediate in nature, which allow them to surmount the daily challenges of life in an academically rigorous public school. This casestudy