A Transformed TI

Students experience a different version of Targeted Instruction at the end of the day.


Photo by Malak Samara.

The CCA is one place in the school, along with the library, where students can stay to study or relax during TI if they are not requested.

   At 10 a.m. every silver day morning, students check their ‘Enriching Students’ account to see if they’ve been requested for Targeted Instruction (TI) that same day. While last year, TI was at the start of every silver day, this year it is at the end. If students are requested for a specific teacher, they need to go to that teacher’s classroom and receive guidance with whatever concept or assignment they are struggling with. 

   “I think that TI is really helpful for all students,” senior Katherine Delaney said. “I was skeptical when I first heard about it. Once we started doing it, I really enjoyed it because if I stayed up to date on my work, I could sleep in on silver days which was a good reward for me.” 

   TI was a concept that was first thought of during the peak of COVID-19. The original idea was called ‘smart period’ when students would meet with a designated teacher, based on last name, over zoom. There were also office hours for students who wanted to take initiative and seek out additional help. However, office hours occurred after school which made it harder for students to fit it into their schedules. Therefore, in the 2021-22 school year TI was first introduced to try and find a solution to previous ‘extra help’ periods. 

   “We found [that] when we were on that weird COVID schedule, students were needing some additional support just because of the way school was structured,” Assistant Principal Chrissie Sturgill said. “[TI] was a combination of just the evolution with COVID-19 and us wanting to revamp a smart period so that it was a useful time for students and staff.”

   Another benefit students found from TI was the opportunity to improve their sleep schedule if they kept their grades up and were on top of their school work. For most, they saw this as motivation to excel in school. 

   According to Delaney, students are needing sleep more than ever so TI starting earlier would be beneficial for the improvement of mental health for those who weren’t requested. 

   However, According to Sturgill, action research was conducted last year to see how they could improve, the already beneficial TI period, to be even better. One of the main problems of TI being fifth period was the attendance issues the school faced. Delaney said that she believed TI needed to be switched because people would sleep in and miss their window of help. Sturgill found an issue with where TI fell in the schedule prior to the adaptation. 

   “[TI] was falling in the middle of a rotation [last year],” Sturgill said. “By putting it at the end, [teachers] could access a bigger group of kids. Plus we are saying that teachers can request during fifth period same day, [which] kind of gives us a little more real-time [help].” 

   Moreover, after experiencing the TI switch for the first time on Monday, Aug. 22 teachers, especially, have seen a major difference in students’ performances. Delaney agreed with the fact that students seem to have more reason to be motivated for TI since they are already at school and do not have to physically get up earlier in the morning because they were requested. 

   “I know teachers like [TI during eighth period] because students are a little more attentive,” Sturgill said. “In the mornings they were coming tired and maybe not engaged. [Also] I’m hearing that kids understand why they’re invited a little bit more than they did before.” 

   While TI being eighth period this year has proved to be very beneficial for most of the parties involved, there has been recent confusion from the parents’ side, even though there is a section in the parent handbook that explains what TI is. Most of the uncertainty is stemming from parent pick up. 

   “As a parent, that kind of puts me in a bind because I don’t know whether or not I could pick up my kid,” Sturgill said. “They’re a little bit frustrated that they don’t know until just a couple of hours before.”

   Additionally, what some parents do not understand is that their kids can still stay at the school even if they are not requested and can take the bus afterward. The CCA and library are open to students who want to get work done or do not have transportation until later. Furthermore, students can go to teachers and seek out additional help themselves for extra opportunities.  

   “I think as long as parents understand that we would like to provide real-time interventions for students and provide the support and help that their child needs,” Sturgill said. “We are trying to create this as educationally structured as possible and provide extra opportunities.” 

   TI’s biggest priority is to ensure academic success for students who need and want it. It allows for one on one time with their teachers to either understand a concept more or get extra help on studying. 

   “I would encourage students to seek out opportunities to work with teachers and take advantage of this time,” Sturgill said. “I would’ve loved this time in high school to be able to go and just work with teachers.”