Will SPEAR hit the mark?


courtesy of Eric French

As the season begins, academically and socially, NC grows excited for the new school year and the plans in store for 2019-2020. SPEAR will impact the everyday schedules of all students in a— hopefully— effective way.

Jayden Stabler and Madeline Powers

Reactions and opinions to NC’s new schedule change vary from optimistic to apprehensive. Support, Preparation, Enrichment Acceleration, & Remediation (SPEAR) seems foreign and confusing to the majority, useless to one group, and promising to others. Administrators expect the extra period to merit success and growth within the student population.  

The Cobb County School District recently began pushing an initiative for all its schools to devise a strategy for remediation and enrichment for students. The time dedicated to such a pursuit requires an added block or period within a school day. For example, Sprayberry High School calls their time “Academic opportunity”, and uses it for study hall every Tuesday and Thursday.  

“Cobb County is encouraging all schools to develop some sort of a period throughout the week or throughout different days to enrich the kids that are doing very well in school and to help remediate the ones that are not. This is to make sure we aid in the development of capable students in different areas while also keeping other students up to par so we can keep graduation rates up and keep challenging our best students at the same time,” Magnet Coordinator James Auld said.

Certain students express passionate feelings regarding the possibility of an extra load of material to study or complete. Despite the fact that material presented in SPEAR bears no weight on students’ grades, a significant portion of the student body seems frustrated with an additional workload to worry about.

“I like the idea of it but I think they’re implementing it wrong. My second-period teacher told me that they’re trying to implement tests and quizzes into it when I think it should be more about learning material,” Magnet junior Walker Goodsite said.

Teachers, on the other hand, seem eager to see what the schedule change brings and even express excitement. They value extra time to help further their students’ learning and engagement. 

“Some students aren’t going to be interested in spending more time in class and therefore the buy-in for SPEAR might be a little difficult, but I hope that if they start to see that they can get more review or one-on-one time with their teacher they might change that opinion. In the Honors American team, we’re planning to do some extension with writing— different types of writing that we don’t usually get to do. We’re going to have a game that we create to do with moving through different writing process parts,” English teacher Jenna Essenburg said.

SPEAR bears a resemblance to the former Warrior Wednesday program, but as Warrior Wednesday failed, the administration made strides to correct the issues prevalent within it. With Warrior Wednesday, students chose a subject to study during a time period on Wednesdays and often went to a classroom with a teacher they had no familiarity with.

“It’s better than Warrior Wednesday where we didn’t know the kids in our room. At least these are our students, we know them, and we can actually utilize what we’re doing as grades in the class,” Essenburg said.

If SPEAR upholds the standards that the administration desire, students and teachers express hopefulness that the initiative will produce positive results, otherwise, it may join Warrior Wednesday in the pile of failed initiatives at NC.