What is an average school day to you? Maybe your alarm rings at 6:30 a.m., before the sun makes its appearance. Maybe you begrudgingly roll out of bed, head to the bathroom, make yourself look presentable, and head out the door. Maybe you go to school for seven hours, head home, and try your best to complete five-hours worth of homework.
For an Interim Instructional Services student, their average day is different.
The Interim Instructional Services accommodates students who are not in a stable enough physical or emotional state to attend a regular seven-hour school day. Schedules vary for each person, but for one student in particular, they attend school for their second, third and fourth elective periods and then take their academic classes at home over a conference call with five other programees. Or on another day, the student meets in the library after their morning at school with a teacher provided by the IIS. Each class can last about two hours a week, and the small size allows for more specialized help for each student. The goal of the teachers is to ready K-12 kids for their return to school once their conditions improve.
An unspoken standard has been established amongst many here at the school. If you’re not staying up finishing work, if you’re not getting straight As, if you’re not taking the hardest classes possible, you’re doing something wrong. For one student, they were constantly sacrificing their mental health for the sake of a grade. It got to the point where they were completely consumed by their work, and their severe anxiety wasn’t helping. It was then that they knew they needed this program.
The way students are taught emphasizes students’ abilities to memorize an overload of information, recite in the form of graded work, move on and repeat. Students often feel compared to the best rather than the individual substance of their own work. There are positives and negatives about such a system, but for IIS, the way they go about affirming understanding is much, much different. Their embrace of free discussion and unique approaches to situations allow for a more personalized learning experience. “My English teacher told me I was a good writer. No teacher has ever told me that before, and that is something that will stick with me forever,” one IIS student said.
“I’m engaged now versus at school I was constantly catching up. I’m a lot less stressed than before. I’m a lot happier. I learn a lot more. You wouldn’t think so because I go to class less than if I were to go to [school] five days a week, but the quality of what I learn is a lot better,” an IIS student said.