By Lanna Kozlowski,
“If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime,” Davis High Study Skills teacher Steve Smyte said.
The main mission of this class is to make DHS students independent lifelong learners. Students find that teachers and aides use different techniques to help them organize, relieve stress and enable them to use effective study strategies. Students who have shown throughout years in school that they need a more structured approach usually choose to be enrolled in the program.
“It’s great for people who need to achieve and go to college,”sophomore Riley Shmidt said.
Study Skills uses a variety of techniques such as goal setting, study calendars and breaking down work time.
Shmidt has seen her peers greatly improve since joining the program and feels like it has helped both her school work and work ethic.
“From their sophomore to senior year there is a definite improvement in academic and social responsibilities,” Laura Nichols, an aide for the Study Skills program, said.
While Smyte says that most students want to join the program, Terri Clarke, a Study Skills parent, says there is a lot of pressure not to be in the program. Clarke said that even though it helped her son, who took the class in eighth and ninth grade, he did not want to be associated with it.
Clarke saw a great improvement in her son’s work ethic and grades, but she said that he would have a hard time admitting that because of the sometimes “bad association” with the program.
“[Study Skills] makes it seem like you’re not capable,” sophomore Anna Koltunov said.
Most Study Skill students stated that the class was helpful with learning new and effective study strategies.
Many accommodations are made for those who need extra help. For some students, they are allowed extra time on tests, reduced test problems, reduced workloads, extensions, and use of notes on some tests. All of this depends on the student.
While in Study Skills, students are able to catch up on any work they missed which is displayed by class, period and teacher on a large whiteboard at the head of the class. On the opposing wall is a bookshelf full of binders the aides use to help students which contains classwork and homework pertaining to the students’ classes.
An aide, or student helper similar to a teacher, is assigned to a group of kids. This person sits in on their classes every day and keeps track of the class in the binders that are kept on the bookshelves.
Not only does Study Skills keep students organized and on track at school, the program also aims to help them as they move out of high school. The class takes trips to work sites and even learns employment skills so that they can be successful outside the classroom.
“Students are exposed to the world of work, not just school,” Smyte said.