New program at Roncali helping students excel

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - “So the goal is that I will have given them the necessary skills to be efficient on their own,” said Benilde teacher Leah Critchfield.

In its first year, the Benilde Program at Roncalli Catholic High School has changed the way students with learning challenges approach school.  Before the school year started these freshman were required to take a summer religion class to help lighten their fall course load.

One less class this semester means more focus on the things these students struggle with like test prep and organization.

“I want you to think about the strategies we went over,” said Critchfield.

Director Leah Critchfield says everything she teaches in this class can and should be applied in their core courses.

“So it has helped me organize my things and helped me remember what I’m supposed to do,” said freshman Larissa Good. 

“Taking good notes in an organized fashion and easy to read,” said freshman Joey Vollmer. 

“I write down a lot of stuff in my white board in my locker and in my calendar,” said freshman Hailey Kamtz.

This course is working, just ask freshman Larissa Good. 

“My grades have gone up to like A's and B's they used to be C's,” said Good.

Critchfield says based on their first quarter data the class's average GPA was a 3.0, the highest GPA is now a 3.9, but some growth can't be measured by data.

“I met my friends John and Suzanna here,” said Josiah Miller.

Friendships have blossomed in the Benilde class.  Critchfield says she's noticed a major increase in confidence.

“We are all comfortable with each other and we really like each other and like to work with each other,” said Good. 

“You're able to basically get along with people and get to know them better than you would in a bigger group,” said freshman Joey Vollmer.

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