Baldwin middle school students "zap out zeros"

New after-school program allows junior high students a chance to make up missed assignments

BALDWIN — Junior high students at Baldwin Community School are getting second chances to bump their grades up and make up missed work through the school's new Z.A.P. out Zeros program.

Z.A.P. stands for "zeros aren't permitted." The program began on Feb. 22, and meets from 3 to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is open to all junior high students.

"The after-school initiative is designed for junior high students to complete homework, classwork, re-take test and quizzes, work on academic projects and tutoring," explained Baldwin Secondary School Principal Calvin Patillo. "Junior high teachers will manage the program.  We believe that students would like to have time after school to complete their class work before going home.  The ultimate goal is  to "zap" out zeros and encourage students to work consistently in completing all class work, therefore increasing academic student performance."

To attend, parents of the students just have to return a form to the school office giving permission for their child to stay after school.

"Many of our students have difficulty completing homework and projects. We feel like the those students will have a great place to work and hopefully begin to submit more quality assignments," said Patillo. "Teachers will take attendance, assure that students have work they need to complete, monitor students to make sure they are using after school time wisely, and advise or counsel students on best practices in completing assignments.  Overall, teachers will manage the program so that students will have an opportunity to work in a calm, peaceful environment where students can get help and ensure that time spent is productive for each student."

Administrators say students can face a variety of difficulties to completing their work, particularly homework. This includes complicated family situations, difficulty managing both academics and athletics or trouble focusing in an unstructured environment.

"Giving our students the opportunity to finish incomplete class work or allow them to do homework they can't for any reason do at home is a great program," said Baldwin Schools Superintendent Stiles Simmons. "After-school programs can help students in a variety of ways, and I think this one offers many positive outcomes for students."

Only time will tell if Z.A.P. Out Zeros will be a success, but teachers and administrators are happy with what they are seeing from the program thus far.

"This gives them an opportunity right after school — with their teacher, with their work — in an environment where they can't lose assignments or put them off, and get their assignments done with the support of educators," said Baldwin resource teacher Brenda Buck, who teaches students in the program. "We're going to do this three days a week to get rid of those zeros. I wish all the students did this. It's a perfect way to improve their grades."