PLT and Breakfast & Learn
As we continue to emerge from the COVID pandemic, Hugh Boyd has returned to some effective school practices that we utilized prior to the health restrictions setting in. One such strategy is the return to Personal Learning Time (PLT as staff and students refer to it). PLT is one hour of time, twice per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), where students take ownership of their learning and can seek assistance from any of their teachers.
Students have the choice of working at home, sleeping, in, or coming to the school to pursue a passion-project, re-write a missed test or assignment, get some help with homework they may be struggling to understand, or connect with peers to work on group projects.
Attendance has been strong, and many students are very effectively using this time to help them meet with greater success at school and help reduce the stress that can accompany high school. Teachers have been able to help many students and we are encouraged to see that several of our students appear less stressed. As we enter Semester Two, we have added the Breakfast & Learn club (an initiative started by several staff and student volunteers) to get donations of food and supplies from the Richmond Food Bank and other sources and then provide students a hot breakfast (pancakes, protein bites, muffins, fruit, and several other “grab and go” items). Students will also get an opportunity to work with senior students who are willing to provide free tutoring. These two initiatives together should help students feel more connected to the school and each other, and ideally will help achievement levels and the mental health of our student body.
The rationale for a return to PLT, and coupling it with the Breakfast & Learn club, is to promote a sense of community in the school, to help reduce stress in our students, to help improve achievement, and to help promote independence and self-advocacy in our population. We feel strongly that it is working and are encouraged by the participation we have noted in our students. We hope these efforts help our students feel more connected to each other and the school and feel supported in their academic pursuits and any mental health struggles they may be having. All of these are within our School Story goals and these connections should be having a positive impact. We will be checking our achievement tallies at the end of the year to see how if we can measure the impacts of the PLT efforts.