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Byron Center Win Time a Big Hit

Byron Center High School sophomores Andrew Rellinger, Jesse Ursiny, Trace Horvath and Vinh Tran spent a recent Wednesday morning sitting in the school hallway with a laptop making a video for extra credit on gene scanning for genetic codes.

In a classroom nearby junior Sara Elliott tutored junior Emilie Zuiderveen on math, while students around them also participated in peer-to-peer tutoring.

Other rooms were filled with students getting extra help from teachers, catching up with homework or using their time in other academic ways.

As Principal Scott Joseph put it: they were doing “whatever they need” to do.

Joseph implemented the Whatever I Need program in January as a block of time set aside each Wednesday morning from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. for students to receive extra instruction if they need it, sleep in if they are excused, or take advantage of extra study time. School always starts at 7:45, but on Wednesdays, classes are shortened by 5 minutes each to allow for WIN.

WIN time, which Joseph modeled after other programs he had researched, offers help where it’s needed, for students who struggle, work after school, use it for group work, or asking questions. Of 1,100 studentsFrom left: Byron Center High School sophomores Andrew Rellinger, Jesse Ursiny, Trace Horvath and Vinh Tran work on an extra credit science project during Whatever I Need time, about 500 attend each week.

WIN corresponds with professional development time for teachers, with half of the staff working with students during the time period.

Sara Elliott volunteered to tutor other students, and works with Emilie Zuiderveen every week.

“I love helping people. Everybody is good at something. I like watching people learn and get better,” Sara said.

Emilie said she likes getting help from another student.

“She has another perspective. I see a different point of view from someone my age,” she said.

Andrew Rellinger said WIN really benefits him.  “It’s really nice to have this extra time,” he said.

Trace Horvath agreed.  “I work a lot after school so I don’t have a flexible schedule,” he said.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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