Academic Support assists our students in obtaining the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to increase overall scholastic performance in classes, improve grades for individual assignments, and increase GPAs.

Support Programs Share One Common Goal

Academic Support is an umbrella term for several separate programs we offer at SJNA that work in synchronization with each other to provide additional support and time to improve study skills and performance. The programs include:

  • Monitoring Missing Work
  • Guided Study Halls
  • Academic Warning Status
  • Daily Tutorial

Most of our Academic Support programs are conducted in our Totzke Learning Center (TLC), with the exception of Daily Tutorial, which is conducted by the teachers in their classrooms. All of these programs share one common goal: to help students excel scholastically, earn better grades in all of their courses, and earn a minimum quarterly 2.0 GPA. Where many other high schools do not monitor grades or remain as heavily involved in overseeing students’ academic performance in each class, the SJNA Academic Support System acts as an extension of the teacher in schoolwork completion, grade monitoring, daily instruction, and student learning.

Strengthening Student Performance and Character

We pride ourselves on helping our students feel supported, valued, and know that despite facing challenges or setbacks, it is okay to receive extra academic help. Our students learn to evaluate their current situation, set goals, and track their progress. The caring group setting of our Academic Support and Guided Study Halls creates an atmosphere free of judgment and a sense that all students are working towards a common goal. They learn that the teachers overseeing the additional study halls, peer tutoring, and missing assignment monitoring are committed to working with them on their academic success. They understand that it is okay to struggle and that the greater SJNA community, in addition to their teachers, cares about their success.

By helping students realize that asking for help is acceptable in academics, we are also broadening their concepts of advocating for themselves and also realizing that it is okay to ask for help in other aspects of life. SJNA believes that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, and the assistance they receive in Academic Support leads to significant academic improvements. We hope to instill the mindset that asking for help in other areas (mental, physical, and spiritual health) also resonates with them and they can benefit significantly by seeking out assistance when needed. The SJNA Academic Support System inevitably provides social and emotional support to all of our students and in doing so helps to build a positive relationship between teachers, staff, and students. Along with providing additional instruction, the Academic Support staff also prepares study guides and individualized study materials to accelerate skill development and the learning process.

Instilling Independence and Life-Long Lessons

Along with helping students become more accountable for their homework, and test preparation, and providing them the assistance and individual attention they need to improve their grades, Academic Support’s overarching goal is to develop their character and to help make students more independent, responsible, and self-reliant.

“Since the 8th grade, I have been frequently on Academic Support. I needed it, not just for academics, but to help me become a better student and a more responsible person. I could tell that the TLC staff really cares. They taught me everything, from basic skills like knowing how to organize my backpack to creating a planner so I could track my assignments and keep up with my academics. Without Academic Support, I probably would not have passed all of my classes and I wouldn’t be able to go to college next year.” – Payton Varghese, Class of 2022

Service and Leadership Through Peer Tutoring

Student-led Peer Tutoring is a program designed by students to assist those in need of extra academic assistance. It is one of the most popular options our students have to provide community service and has a direct impact on our school. Tutors communicate with teachers to identify those students who might benefit from extra help, and those students are scheduled to meet with their respective tutors after regular school hours in the TLC for 1-hour sessions (up to 2 per day, possibly in different subjects). Up to 20 students per evening receive tutorial services.

The Peer Tutoring program contributes to the positive character development of both the tutor and the tutee. When this program was created by our students in 2017, the entire community embraced it, and it has remained an important part of our academic support system ever since. Students have been able to realize the power of student voice and action within a school community. When students recognized and expressed their own need for improvement in motivation and achievement, they felt like they were heard, and it allowed them to realize the positive impact anyone can have on an entire community when people work together. Students who struggle academically are more willing to complete assignments in a timely matter when they have help from their peers outside of school hours. Being taught by peers is a natural motivator, and each tutor takes pride in his or her ability to help out a fellow classmate, especially when they see grades and confidence increase as a result. Student tutors have developed a sense of caring for their fellow students, and have learned that positivity and encouragement are key factors to increasing achievement with peers who struggle.