Students sacrifice vacation time for school

, Posted: Wed, April 2 2014 at 5:58 PM, Updated: Mon, April 7 2014 at 3:49 PM

Medford, Ore. -- It's the second week of spring break in the Medford School District, but it sure doesn't feel that way for many students who are back in the classroom this week.

Hundreds of kids at five schools decided to give up their vacation time to spend it back at school to make sure their grades are up to par.

North Medford High senior Chad Gowland isn't wasting any time.

"I want to graduate on time. I need this to graduate," said Gowland.

"I'm working on astronomy and economics because we took a super difficult test in my opinion at the end of the quarter," he continued.

Gowland, along with other students, getting a chance to make up tests and other school work.

"If we didn't have this, there would be a large percentage that wouldn't have the opportunity to make up these credits and wouldn't graduate this spring," said Lindsey Hanson, an art teacher at North Medford High School.

Gowland said having the extra week to complete work is effective and that's exactly what Joe Cramer, North Medford High School's Assistant Principal, likes to hear.

According to Cramer, educators still have the same high expectations for students, but are just giving them more time and intervention.

"We haven't changed those expectations, we've just changed the level of support and that's the critical idea," said Cramer who emphasized that back in the old days students used to have one chance to learn what they were taught.

"We've realized not all kids learn at the same rate," he said.

Students are now being given multiple chances to prove they've learned the material.

"We are now doing what's called proficiency grading and what that means is you have multiple chances to pass a test," said Cramer.

"We want every kid to get a diploma," he explained.

Kids are also getting a shot at completing course work before all the stress that comes along with graduation.

"My logic is if I do it right now ... I don't have to worry about it anymore," said Gowland.

Coming to school during his spring break was an easy decision for Gowland that could make a world of difference.

After high school, Gowland said he's focused on getting a job, then he'll try to get into the University of Oregon.

Opportunities for students in the Medford School District to make up extra work will extend until the end of the week.

Last year the district set aside money specifically for this kind of help throughout the year.

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