Station Maine School Rowing Program

 

Pilot Program
8th Grade 8/26/10

Students were selected for this program in order to meet their unique needs and aspirations. By creating small, cohesive groups we mean to maximize the learning of every student, preparing them for the transition to the 8th and 9th grade school. Being on the Station Maine gig, commanding a crew of their peers, forcing themselves out on the water winter and summer, has shown to give students the confidence that will allow them to push ahead and begin to succeed in school and in life.

Needs of students criteria are:

  • Require smaller grouping to develop good habits such as homework completion and classroom participation
  • Below average daily organizational skills
  • Emotional uniqueness – portray lack of confidence
  • Require more individualized instruction
  • Need to improve motivation & engagement
  • Below average group dynamics/social skills

Overriding goal: To impact the aspirations of our students

Goals and data we will collect to determine if program is successful:

1. Student performing on standardized testing
2. The number of office referrals
3. Attendance
4. Improved parent involvement/awareness
5. Grades improve from last year to this year

Anecdotal data to be collected:

1. Increased class participation
2. Homework quality and on-time
3. Work ethic
4. Improved attitude in classroom and about school
5. Social interaction with peers
6. Responsibility for one’s own actions
7. Leadership skills
8. Improved fitness levels
9. Increased awareness of our unique cultural identity as coastal Mainers
10. Raised levels of self-confidence born of success in a unique and challenging program
11. Increased respect for authority

Transportation details: Bus arrives at RDMS at 12:25 daily, picks up 7 students, transports to Station Maine. Return trip from Station Maine, pick up at 1:40, back to school by 1:45 p.m.


Summary of Goals and Data
6/23/11

1. Student performance on standardized testing

The NWEA math scores moved up to a total overall increase for the cohort 5.3 RIT points. One boy went up 30 RIT points. One boy and one girl each moved up 15 RIT points, another 14 points, and a girl up 7 points. Some lost, of course. The greatest loss was 9 RIT points, but there were extenuating circumstances for this child beyond the reach of our intervention attempts. The reading scores raised overall by 17 RIT points for the cohort, again with increases ranging individually form 1 to 11 RIT points. We had two students who took a plunge of -11 and one -13, one of these two also having extenuating circumstances beyond the reach of our intervention attempts.

2. The number of office referrals

The number of lesser offense office referrals (not suspensions) decreased by ¼ fewer. The number of suspensions overall remained nearly the same, but the students receiving suspensions changed. One student in particular who was easily provoked and was highly volatile last year was this year able to remain calm, to speak truthfully, and own his mistakes. There are others with the same story. The big difference this year is that the volatile high level incidents were reduced. One student entered this year on probation and was a “frequent flier” last school year. This child came off probation and made the honor roll all year. He became a mentor to younger children, a strong participant in the bike repair shop, and went on the Honor Roll field trip. On the bus ride he told his teacher that he just couldn’t believe he was there. He never thought he could do it.

3. Attendance

Attendance for this group of students was up 3.5%

4. Improved parent involvement/awareness

In the beginning of the school year we had 100% of these parents in attendance at the 8th grade open house. As the year progressed we had fewer numbers of interactions with the parents, but in comparison to last year the fewer numbers was due to the fact that the parents report their children as being happy. We had many comments from different parents that their child was notably different this year; happier overall. These students became more of their own advocate, which is not at all where they were last year or in past years.

5. Grades improve from last year to this year

Only one student came close to failing this year. Other than this one student none of the students came close to failing grades. Students did their work this year, which is what brought them perilously close to failed grades last year.

Anecdotal data collected:

1. Increased class participation

No particular note of improvement.

2. Homework quality and on time

The girls in particular improved on these criteria. A small number of boys improved considerably.

3. Work ethic

This year the students were not constantly being “chased” to get work in, which is a change from last year.

4. Improved attitude in classroom and about school

Each student and administrator has a story about one or more students who definitely changed in attitude. For some it was much less whining and complaining. For others it was less backtalk. Students became “softer”, more willing to be counseled, to listen, to work with authority.

5. Social interaction with peers

Last year this group of students was simply not nice at all to each other. This year that became, over time, a different story for many. Many students became roll models and advocates for others they felt needed help.

6. Responsibility for one’s own actions

There was a definite improvement for most students. This is a direct result of the actual rowing training as taught by Muriel Curtis.

7. Leadership skills

After several weeks of orientation every student, without exception, was required to command the gig in increasingly complicated circumstances vis a vis wind and tide, both with and without the rudder, which necessitated actually commanding their peers for every required maneuver. Students learned, remarkably quickly, to cover their mate’s back because some day he’s going to cover yours. While some students clearly rose up as better boat handlers, every student, without exception, grew in leadership skills.

8. Improved fitness levels

Rowing is an esoteric skill requiring unique muscle memory. Students struggled the first several weeks but their bodies hardened to the task, growing to where crews would choose fight a considerable head-wind to Owl’s Head and back for no reason more than the challenge it offered.

9. Increased awareness of their unique cultural identity as coastal Mainers

Once the “fear factor” wore off students began to look up and take pride in their harbor. They would often point out landmarks and re-tell the histories of these points of interest on the Working Waterfront. They took great pleasure in curious seals and ospreys, and took pride in the realization of how few students in America enjoy the freedom of an open boat or master the skills necessary to row one.

10. Raised levels of self confidence born of success in a unique and challenging program

Absolutely, hands down, the one area that improved dramatically for most students. There were some students who ended up dropping out of the rowing program, but the majority of students truly began to believe they are successful. The transference of this belief to their lives as students has begun.

11. Increased respect for authority

Mrs. Hollicker saw these students far less than last year, but reports that when interacting with the students, there was a totally different response from the kids. For example, one student used to blow up and fly off the handle last year, but this year came into her office and was able to calmly talk about whatever the problem was and problem-solve ways to change the situation. These students were able to turn things around and get back into class quite quickly, which is quite different from last year.


STUDENT COMMENTS:

Adrian - My experience with Station Maine this year was that I was having fun and working at the same time. I don’t do that all the time. … I learned that rowing is harder than it looks and so is teamwork. Also, I learned that I am stronger than I look.

Katie M. - Everybody on the boat has to work together and listen if you want to go somewhere. … Once I was steering the boat and I had to do a figure eight in a certain space. I had to push off the buoys with the boat hook. I am a lot stronger than I thought I was.

Savannah - Steering the boat and giving commands on my own is a little scary for me. I had to holler out really loudly to tell my shipmates how and where to row while steering. … What I learned about myself is I can do a lot; I just have to try and not give up.

Kelsie - I learned that teamwork is important because if you don’t work and listen to your team on the water then you could end up in a bad situation. I also learned that you need to try new things, they could end up being fun. … I learned that I am stronger than I thought … and to push myself harder.

Jessica - Lifting the oars was kind of hard though. Staying in rhythm with your partners was tough, but once I got it, it made me feel like I could actually do something.

Dallas - [Rowing] is good for practicing listening skills, communication and cooperation. … People need to communicate and cooperate to row their best and for the boat to operate smoother … and go faster.

Stephen - What I learned about rowing was that you can go fast when everyone on the team is working with each other and when everyone does their best. … Another thing I learned was that when it is rainy and windy and the waves are high, everyone needs to get their strokes on time and every time. If they don’t the waves could turn us…. Everyone really needed to work hard and as hard as they could because it was hard sometimes, and if they didn’t do their best then it would be harder.

Katie C. - At first we really sucked at it, our oars smacking into each other and we couldn’t keep up with each other. … Once we got back to the dock, we knew that rowing was our thing. ... Going to Station Maine, I had no idea that it would change me completely, and not in a bad way. I have become more outgoing and more self-confident. It helped me make new friends and to be more physically fit. It made my dad proud that I was doing something I love and made me feel good. It made me change my whole perspective on life too, before I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished high school. Now, I have a better idea of what that is. Station Mane taught me respect, tolerance and so many other great qualities. Just from making that decision at open house, it changed my life literally. It made me proud of myself as well. It changed me physically and mentally. I’m a happier person and I am a lot stronger than I used to be. Station Maine has had a huge positive impact on me, and on my life ahead.

Home * Programs * Education * Calendar * Scrapbook * Get Involved * Salutes