The Evolution of Cavalier Morning

Liza Collins 
Math Teacher
Clover Hill High School
Chesterfield County Public Schools

Listen to Liza discuss her action research project

Cavalier Morning at Clover Hill High School began in the Fall of 2008 and is intended as a time for students to get extra help and remediation. It is every morning from 7:20 – 7:50 before 1st block and is designed as part of the instructional day. All busses arrive prior to the start of Cavalier Morning so that students may attend. Students can go see any teacher they wish during this time but once they are in a classroom they must remain in that room until the bell rings at 7:50. Students who choose not to be in a classroom remain in the commons to socialize, in the library for quiet study time, or can go to the gym to play basketball. Attendance is mandatory for students if they have a D or an F in a class. However, most teachers find that the students attending are the A and B students who are intrinsically motivated to do better rather than the students for whom the program was originally designed. Overall, attendance from D and F students is very low and difficult to enforce.

Since the program’s existence, Cavalier Morning has become more like a study hall in most teachers’ rooms. It’s biggest usefulness has been for students to makeup quizzes and tests. However, this was not the intention of the program. In an ideal world remediation would be happening in every classroom every morning. Students would feel like they were getting the support they needed and teachers would feel like they were helping the students who needed to be helped. Right now most teachers feel like the students who need the most help are not showing up and when they do show up they are not prepared.

I have been teaching math, of various levels, at Clover Hill for nine years. I began my research by providing a structured Cavalier Morning one day a week. I invited students who had performed poorly on a formative assessment to attend a lesson on that subject during Cavalier Morning in hopes that they would improve their performance on the next summative assessment. 52.7% of the students who were invited to attend the special review lessons on Fridays did attend. The data showed that 82% of the students who attended improved by at least a letter grade.  

This led me to ask – how can I get more students in my room during Cavalier Morning? I interviewed students to figure out their motivation for attending Cavalier Morning – many of them told me they knew getting extra help from their teacher would improve their understanding of the material and help their grade. However, many admitted that they would rather be sleeping or socializing. We would like to think that teenagers can be trusted to make the right decision to better themselves, however many of them cannot.   This made me realize that the best way to improve student attendance in Cavalier Morning was to change the schedule so that Cavalier Morning was later in the day and the students were already in the building. It would be much easier to get students into our rooms for the help they need.

When surveyed, students were supportive of Cavalier Morning; only 2.4% said they did not like Cavalier Morning. 59.2% of students answered “yes” or “maybe” when asked “If Cavalier Morning were scheduled at a different time of day would you be more likely to be in a classroom receiving support?” When given the opportunity to give feedback about when Cavalier Morning should be scheduled most students choose after 1st block.

Direct quotes from the students in respone to asking why they would support a change are:

“1st block gives us students a boost to the day. With this boost it wakes us up and we might actually get stuff done in Cav Morning.”

“I would schedule it then because I could be focused on school and actually have questions to ask.”

“Everyone would have to attend and teachers would be able to help you at the exact time that you need it.”

“It actually forces me to go to school first then be able to go to Cav morning since I wake up feeling too tired and end up not going.”

Clover Hill has created a task force to assess how Cavalier Morning should be run as we adopt a new bell schedule in the fall of 2018. I am a member of the task force that will begin meeting in the spring of 2017. I know that most schools have remediation programs in place and feel like they could be improved one way or another. It is my goal that as a member of this task force we gather data from other schools, from our parents and students, in order to make our program as successful as possible.

 

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