At Riverside Middle School, students are getting ZAPped.
They get ZAPped in. They get ZAPped out.
ZAP - or Zero's Aren't Permitted - is a new support structure that Principal Lacey Moser and her administration team have put in place for Riverside students.
Students who fail to turn in homework or assignments or need to make up tests or quizzes receive a ZAP in ticket. Riverside teachers create a list of students missing assignments, and students must give up their lunch and recess time (they can eat their lunch while in ZAP) and dedicate the time to completing their missing assignments.
The philosophy behind ZAP, a program that has been implemented in many schools nationwide, is that multiple zeros make it impossible for a student to be successful in class.
"ZAP isn't about failing," said Moser. "It's about Zeros Aren't Permitted. Let's not wait until a student is missing seven assignments and they are so deep in a hole that they don't feel like they can get out of it."
In addition, ZAP prepares students for life beyond their K-12 education. To be successful in a job, not completing projects, or completing them poorly simply is not an option. ZAP teaches that quality work and personal responsibility are essential to success and forces students to develop those habits.
Each of the Riverside administrators has committed to taking a grade level. Moser has seventh-graders. Once students have completed their work to the teacher's satisfaction, they receive a ZAP out ticket.
"We know that middle school students aren't motivated by zeros," said Moser. "This is an intervention for students that may need some help with time management, or that just need some extra help."
It has also helped the Riverside Administration develop deeper relationships with the student body.
"I know more kids. I am more involved with them on a daily level, and the teachers appreciate it because they see us helping keep our kids accountable," she added.
Moser said her list may begin with 90 students every week, but by the end of day one, at least half have ZAPped out. In addition, she said the number of students on the "A-B Honor Roll" has increased, and the number of students failing one or more classes has dropped significantly.
The students appreciate the extra time the Riverside administrators are putting into their education as well.
"ZAP helps me get things done," said Maryana Bustillos. "I like that we can be in there, and it's quiet and we can get our work done. I'm glad that Riverside does this because it provides time for us."
For more information about the Garfield Re-2 School District, contact Theresa Hamilton at 665-7621.