Monday, Aug 20, 2018
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Northwood: Penta's Success Center quickly sets popularity

The new Success Center at Penta Career Center is living up to its name.

Students have used the center, which includes teachers staffing it throughout the day, since the beginning of the school year for tutoring and extra help they need on any subject matter. Those who have used it say they're glad it's available.

"Sometimes I work slower in the classroom and [the center] helps me keep up," said junior Lindsey Tibbs, 16, who said she comes to the center almost every day for "all different subjects."

Junior Ryan Prince, 17, said that while he used the center the most before taking the Ohio Graduation Test, he's gone to it for other reasons, too.

"It showed me that sometimes I need a little more personalized help," he said. "It helps me learn better."

While preparation for the Ohio Graduation Test and proficiency tests were two ways Penta officials wanted to use the Success Center, Academic Supervisor Suzy Short said they'll be using it for much more.

"It's a little bare-bones right now," she said. "We have many ideas, but we don't want to sink money into it until we see that it's working."

But it seems to be quickly gaining popularity. The first week the center was open - the week of Aug. 24 - 19 students used its services. That number peaked to 499 students using it the week of Oct. 10, and to 375 students using it the week of Oct. 17, representing the latest figures that were available.

Because the school has block scheduling, the 33 academic teachers teach three, 80-minute classes every day, then are assigned to the center for half of the remaining fourth period.

This allows for four major academic disciplines - English, science, social studies, and math - to be in the center at all hours of the school day, said curriculum coordinator Jane Music.

With teacher permission, students from any program can leave class or skip lunch to go to the center for the one-on-one instruction.

Science teacher Shehrever Masters said the thinks individualized instruction is a good tool.

"Students have no choice but to pay attention," he said. "I think it's a good idea because it does give us the opportunity to provide students with extra help, especially with different teachers because of their different perspectives."

The idea for the Success Center arose when Ms. Music visited the Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby, Ohio - which is comparable to Penta - and saw a similar program that was thriving in its second year of operation.

While the center is now used for tutoring and sharing ideas, officials said they may use it before and after school, for students to recover credits or for career placement.

"The Success Center is a physical space, but I don't want to see it limited to just those four walls," Ms. Short said. "It's ours to do what we want, and I see those possibilities as endless."

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