Thursdays’ new PASS proves positive change for students

by Hannah Van Sant

PC students face new schedule changes this fall. Instead of chapel on Thursdays, the school board replaced that period with Program Aimed at Student Success or PASS. It’s mainly for students who need help with their homework or who need to catch up, so they would go see a tutor or teacher during that period. For others who do not need help with their homework, underclassmen go to the commons to study, while the seniors go to the library to study. In order to ensure that students attend chapel two times a week, the school board moved chapel to Fridays, replacing intramurals, which means that intramurals are held on Mondays only.

Principal Dan Van Kooten and the school board decided to add the Thursday PASS because they feel that Monday PASS doesn’t offer enough time for students to relearn. “Students at PCHS are busy and involved in athletics, music, drama, jobs, and some ride the bus,” said Van Kooten. “Monday after school does not work well for many people; therefore, we wanted to find a time during the day that would work better for students. We’ll still have Monday PASS, but our hope is that fewer students will need it since we have Thursday PASS.”

Van Kooten hopes that the new period will help students experience better and deeper learning. “The intent is to offer them another opportunity to hear or see an explanation, receive extra help or tutoring for a certain concept that might be difficult, or even have the opportunity to do an enrichment activity in a certain class,” he said. “The expectation is that this will fill in some gaps in learning that otherwise might be left open. Our goal at Pella Christian High is that every student learn at high levels.”

Some students feel that the Thursdays’ PASS period is a positive change. “PASS is a good thing, because it is a time that really helps students meet with teachers to figure out difficult assignments and don’t have to find time before or after school when many students have extra-curriculars,” said sophomore Abigail Gosselink. “It also is nice for students to study for a test or quickly finish up an assignment. I think it will be very helpful to many students.”

Other students use the period for athletic homework as well. Senior Hayden Vroom said, “I feel like it is a great opportunity to watch an opponent film for football games. Get your homework done, kids, and if you can’t, get some help. I believe it is beneficial, but not fun, obviously. PASS is strictly to keep students on top of the homework that they procrastinate on or simply do not understand.”

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