By Kyle Davis
There’s a new academic program at Batavia High School. It’s not just any academic program however, it’s one that will help students who are in desperate need of help.
The program is called PAWS, which stands for “Positive Academics With Supports.” It was designed to help any student who is in need of any extra academic help. The program at the time is just only a few weeks old. Steve Lesniak, the new teacher of the program and the former counselor of juniors and seniors, used to be a classroom teacher.
“I wanted to reconnect myself with the students who may need a little extra help,” Lesniak said of his move back into the classroom.
The way a student gets into the program is by being recommended by a current teacher. Lesniak even said that attendance could have a factor in the process of recommending a student to the program, not just academic reasons. Then, the student enters a process with the student services team and the building-level intervention team.
After going through those two teams of the recommendation process, the request comes to Lesniak and Erin Reid, the school administrator in charge of the PAWS Program. Reid and Lesniak make the final determination if the student would be a good fit for the program and what the student needs to fix, essentially. Entering the program is ultimately up to the student and they can opt out at any time.
Lesniak said that he leads various classroom discussions and lessons. He said that they also have various people like teachers come in and talk about various topics. The next plan with the program is going to soon talk about career plans and what the students want to do after high school. After that, Lesniak said he wants “to get out and do some field trips” and see what kids have for career opportunities.
A typical day in the class runs from 10:00 to 3:00 or 3:30, depending again on the student or students.
“Some student come for one block, some for two, and really anything to address the student’s needs,” Lesniak said. “The program is only two and a half weeks old. We are going through a lot of growing pains to figure out what are some of the best options here to help students.”