Help centers strive to aid students academically


Petra Huang for the Sagamore

Teachers help students with their math homework in Math Center on March 16. Math Center is held prior to school every morning in multiple rooms, one of them being room 144.

Ben Mandl, Staff writer

It’s 6:30 a.m. and your alarm is ringing. A half an hour later, you’re out the door and on your way to one of the many help centers the high school has to offer.

For sophomore Claudia Marza, waking up early can be the deciding factor of whether or not to go to Math Center.

“I would much rather go in the afternoon for 15 minutes or half an hour than go in the morning,” Marza said. “Teenagers already get too little sleep as it is, so I think that having it in the afternoon would be better.”

Sophomore Jackie Mundis said that she doesn’t get the help that she needs when she goes to Math Center due to the distraction of other students.

“I like the idea of getting extra help,” Mundis said. “I’ve been a couple of times but, when I went, I found that I didn’t really end up getting the help that I needed. I think that it was a good idea to meet with my teacher, but I don’t think that I got enough help because I was pretty easily distracted by some of the other students who were there.”

According to Mundis, one of the biggest problems with Math Center, in addition to distracted students, is that there simply are not enough teachers to help all of the students who come.

“I think the main problem is that there is only one teacher in the room,” Mundis said. “Since there are a lot of students, you can’t really get one-on-one help.”

Marza also said that the lack of teachers present is a problem.

“I think that there should be more teachers there,” Marza said. “It’s like six kids to one teacher, which can make it really hard to get help.”

Math teacher and Math Center Supervisor Lisa Rodriguez said that she understands why students would not want to come to Math Center due to its timing, but feels that the program is run well.

“People don’t like how early it is, and certain kids don’t want to get up so early, even if they need help,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think there are problems with how Math Center is organized, but I do think that, even if kids don’t want to wake up, they should try to come to Math Center for help if they need it.”

Rodriguez said it can be hard to have so many students and not very many teachers.

“In the upperclassman Center, there are a lot of kids who come in, but only three teachers,” Rodriguez said. “Some kids don’t like to work together and talk to each other, which makes it so that I often have to answer the same question like 10 different times, which makes it hard for me to get to all the kids. I can totally see that being a reason why some people don’t want to go to Math Center.”

Rodriguez said that she wants to get the word out to more students about Math Center so that more kids, especially those in standard level classes, can come and get help.

“It needs to be advertised more so that more students can take advantage of it,” Rodriguez said. “Not a lot of standard kids end up coming to Math Center.  Usually, the room gets really packed with honors and advanced students, but I wish we could get more standard students to come.”

Senior and founder of the Science Center Aria Wong also said that not enough students know about the help centers.

“I think the reason that some kids don’t come is because they don’t know about it,” Wong said. “We haven’t done enough outreach and marketing.”

Wong said that she wants to spread the word about science center by making announcements, talking to teachers and putting up posters around the school.

Students work at the Writing Center prior to the school day. Senior Ben Groustra, who works at the Writing Center, said that there aren't a sufficient amount of students who know about the program.
Petra Huang for the Sagamore
Students work at the Writing Center prior to the school day. Senior Ben Groustra, who works at the Writing Center, said that there aren’t a sufficient amount of students who know about the program.

Senior and Writing Center worker Ben Groustra was recommended for his place in the Writing Center by his history teacher and the teacher supervisor to the Writing Center Michael Normant. Groustra said that there are not enough students who know about the Writing Center.

“It can get very quiet in the Writing Center, and I feel like it is very under-utilized,” Groustra said.  “A lot of teachers don’t have time to look over papers as much as they would like to or as much as some students need, and writing center is a great place for people who need someone to edit their paper when their teacher can’t.”

However, Andrew Kimball, who runs the Language Center, which meets Mondays and Tuesdays before school, during X-block and Thursdays and Fridays after school in room 206, where kids go to retake quizzes, get practice and ask for clarification, said that X-block is the most popular time for students to visit the Language Center.

“Attendance is equal before and after school,” Kimball said. “X-Block is easily the most popular time. We try to balance the hours before school and after school because lots of students have commitments after school.”

Groustra said that he understands it can be early to wake up, but feels that the mornings are the best time to get help and that it is well worth it.

“I don’t think there’s really a better time to do it,” Groustra said. “You need a time where everyone would have a free block, which wouldn’t really work, and people have stuff to do after school. Coming in before school for 10 minutes isn’t too bad, and that’s when everyone has free time.”

The high school's help center vary in time, room number and aid provided. This infographic relays this information.
Infographic by Ben Mandl
The high school’s help center vary in time, room number and aid provided. This infographic relays this information.