Saturday School at Rockville High School provides a safe place for students to master the skills they learn during the school week and creates an opportunity for extra instruction

By Noam Elfassj, for the Rampage

Saturday school at Rockville is something that most students do not even know exists, let alone know what actually happens there.

When talking about Saturday School, junior Henry Presman said, “Isn’t it a Korean school on Saturdays?… I have no idea what goes on during Saturday School.”

You could say it is one of Rockville High School’s best kept secrets, but the real question is what actually goes on at Saturday School?

In reality, Saturday School at Rockville is not a Korean school, but a safe zone where 152 middle and high school students go to get academic help. Saturday School (run by the George B. Thomas Learning Academy Saturday at 12 locations in Montgomery County) offers classes set up as a non-traditional school setting that allows students to grow and receive the help they need without the stress of the regular school day to distract them.

“I think most people think it’s like regular school, where we have tests and projects, and teachers lecture to them,” said history teacher Rene Shuler, who is also the Center Director for Saturday School’s Rockville location. “But in reality, it’s a lot of hands on small groups. We don’t have any homework or tests, and kids actually get to just practice what they need to learn.”

From 8:30 a.m. to11 a.m., Saturday School is in session. During the learning block, grades one through eight are taught curricula that goes along with what they are learning in school. High schoolers can use the computer lab to access online databases, SAT prep, finish school work using google classroom, and whatever else they need to do. Students can also seek the assistance of teachers, like Shuler, to help them.

The Saturday School students and parents also do a motivational activity every Saturday, that helps them learn how to keep learning efficiently when they are not at school and to help kids feel more confident and relaxed about their work and progress.

Senior Amina Mohammed, a Saturday School volunteer, said, “We have morning motivation where the students do different activities to get people up and excited…like zumba and creating stories with specific words… Our director, Mrs. Shuler, gets the students and parents excited and ready to learn even though it’s a Saturday morning. It’s also really helpful for the parents because Saturday School organizes parent workshops so they can better help their kids at home and learn about different changes in the county.”

Saturday School allows high school students, such as Amina, to come volunteer for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Amina used to attend Saturday School as a middle schooler and has been volunteering since she started high school.

Mohammed said, “It changed how I felt about school…I realized that there are people who are willing, ready and excited to help students…it’s such a supportive and helpful environment…Overall, it’s a great organization that helps students believe in themselves and get the support they need.”

Saturday School is known among its students as being a stress-free environment that really helps students learn and get work done in a relaxed manner. For students who feel they could use the extra support, it is known to be very helpful in providing the extra push many need.

Saturday School student senior Deanna Kuehn states, “Saturday School has given me the time to actually get my work done with help in pretty much any class… What makes it such an enriching experience is that you really have the freedom and support to get stuff done at your own pace…I definitely don’t think I would have done as well as I did without it.”

Visit the Saturday School website – http://www.saturdayschool.org/