Clubs have returned to the Dutchess BOCES Alternative High School (AHS), under a new structure. Last month, students filled out forms selecting the clubs they wanted to attend each day during ninth period.
“It alleviates stress,” said Kiesha Tillman, Principal of the AHS. “I think knowing there's something else that they have going on at the end of the day breaks up the monotony of the school day as well.”
Tillman said adding clubs allows for a more connected environment. “You're in the school but you don't have that same level of community the way that other schools would,” she said. “This helps to bring a sense of community where students can get to know different teachers as well as different students.”
One of the clubs being held is the Robotics Club with teacher Kathy White. Students will be building and programming robots to race, to battle, and to complete on an obstacle course. Students are working with Vex robotics kits, and Lego Mindstorm kits.
They also can access to 3D printers, in the event that they want to print their own pieces to use in the construction of the robots.
“I wanted to try something new and make something interesting,” said Aidan Clare, a 12th grade student at the AHS. “I figured why not use the services while I’m here.” Clare said he was familiar with robotics, saying “My uncle works with technology for his job, so I know a little about robots already.”
There is also a Music Club, Board and Card Games Club, Art and Art Mural Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Student Government, and more. Students choose which club they want to participate in for each day of the week, allowing them variety and freedom.
Using ninth period for clubs to meet also allows for other opportunities. One option for students is to get homework help from staff. Teachers who are not running clubs also have meetings during this time to discuss curriculum and work on what they will be teaching.
“At the same time that clubs are going on, we have rotated it so that teachers can now have time to be able to meet to discuss their departments,” said Tillman. “Having time to plan with colleagues and discuss strategies to improve instruction is always beneficial for teachers. I have many thoughts on how to use this time and I believe my teachers are also appreciative to have this time together as well.”