"Tiger Hall" designed to reduce failure rate

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Ask anyone who roams the hallways of a new school and the anxieties are often the same.

"Feelings of intimidation about older kids," said student mentor Joi Crenshaw.

"Just completely lost, I had no idea where to go," said Daniel Perkins, student mentor.

So, what used to be known as "Building Ten" at J.R. Tucker High School is being converted into "Tiger Hall", an academy that's just for freshmen. The idea surfaced two years ago when sixty tucker freshmen, out of about 400, failed the ninth grade.

"It's a national trend. If you look at high schools throughout the nation, there are more failures in 9th grade than any other year," said Principal Dr. Gwen Miller.

Freshmen will do their core subjects all under one roof, as opposed to being spread throughout campus. And their teachers will also be closer together, allowing them to collaborate better if a student is falling behind.

"That would be much easier in this building, because you can just walk out and say, they'll either be next door, they'll be across the hall," said Karen Finch, World History Teacher.

The goal is to put a stop to the rising failure rates among freshmen.

"We want it, immediately. We want to see improvement, at the end of this school year," Miller said.

An effort that has faculty, staff, and even students invested in the success of the incoming class.

"All the freshmen are gonna be able to work together, form a big team," Daniel said.

"You just want them to feel comfortable. You want them to feel like they belong here at the school," said Joi.

Work is still underway to get the new Tiger Hall prepared for the freshman class. But all is expected to be ready in time for the first day of classes, three weeks from today.

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