reporting by Alivia Jiang and Charlie Marshall
Creating more opportunities for students to receive help on their schoolwork, teaching assistant Margaret Amrhein works alongside teachers to innovate the Learning Lab virtually
“The idea for the Learning Lab came from C-PPMS Executive Principal Frank Barber. Several years ago, he had decided that the students could use a place to get tutoring and help. He imagined it as similar to a college setting, where students could come in voluntarily and get the help that they need.
It takes a lot of advertising each year. There are a lot of students even now that are unaware that it is available, but once the students are aware that it is available to them, they come in and use the Learning Lab, whether for a quiet workspace or to actually get help. They keep coming back, so it's really growing, and a lot of students use it. We hope they continue to.
This year in September, we, as in all the teachers that work there, worked together and decided that we needed to get the students in the Learning Lab virtually, so we opened up Google Classroom meets. Students can come in and meet with the teacher that is in that period. We got a lot of students that way. Plus, we still get the in-person students. It's been a challenge to bounce around and make sure that all the students are getting the help they need, but it's been good regardless.
I'm always hopeful that each year, we build more students who can come in and use the Learning Lab. It's sometimes very challenging to get students who could really use it to get in there and get help. I still have some ideas running through my head to get to the students that really need it.
My favorite stories are always the ones where students come back. For instance, I have been working with a student for the last four years. She's a senior this year, but she came in as a ninth grader struggling. She has been coming into the Learning Lab as needed throughout the years, and she's doing great this year; she's graduating. When students come in and say thank you for all your help and they appreciate it, that's what I love the most. It's good to be appreciated, and that's what I'm here for. It is what I love to do.”