Wyrick: SAILS program has mixed results
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Feb 04, 2014 | 1280 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Karen Wyrick
Karen Wyrick

The Tennessee Board of Regents’ Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support program finished its first official semester with mixed results from the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems.

Cleveland State Community College math department chair Karen Wyrick explained the SAILS program is learning support for students who scored a 19 or lower on their ACTs.

Cleveland State offered the SAILS program during the high schools’ bridge math courses. According to Wyrick, the bridge class covered the same information without the college accreditation. Students could potentially bypass three maths: two remedial courses; and one basic course needed to study advanced STEM math relating to science, technology and engineering.

Students who successfully complete the five competencies within the program can bypass remedial courses at the college level.

“If we can get them college-math ready by the time they graduate from high school, then their chances of graduating [from college] are increased,” Wyrick said. “Only 3 to 5 percent of the students who have to take remedial math in college graduate.”

According to statistics provided by the SAILS program, 125 Bradley Central students and 64 Cleveland High students enrolled in the semester-long course. Less than 10 percent of Bradley Central’s students finished on time. A report from December revealed 10 Bradley Central students completed the five competencies.

Cleveland High had more than 50 percent of its students finish the program on time. The same December report listed 39 students as SAILS completers.

Wyrick outlined several factors which positively influence students’ success in the SAILS program: administrative support; faculty buy-in; an instructor in the classroom who can motivate the students to work; and students who see the value of the work.

Cleveland High required all of its bridge math students to finish the program in order to receive a passing grade for graduation.

Wyrick explained the same was not so for Bradley Central.

She said, “Completion of the 24 models to get students college ready is not a requirement to pass the high school’s bridge math class at Bradley Central.”

Wyrick continued by saying she has been in contact with the administration at Bradley Central. The plan is to implement policies to make the course more effective during the fall semester.

Numbers for both schools revealed a steady decrease in the number of students who passed each competency from level 1 to 5: competency 1 had 123 from Bradley and 64 from Cleveland; competency 2 had 98 from Bradley and 60 from Cleveland; competency 4 (which comes first in the SAILS program) had 68 for Bradley and 54 for Cleveland; competency 3 had 30 for Bradley and 44 for Cleveland; and competency 5 had 10 for Bradley and 39 for Cleveland.

Both Cleveland High and Bradley Central students have the opportunity to continue work on the program until May. Wyrick reiterated all students are welcome to utilize Cleveland State’s math lab for help with assignments.

There are five competencies in the program for modules 1-24. Each level should take approximately four weeks to complete. Although the students are in a class, the program is self-directed. This means how long each competency takes is ultimately up to the students.

SAILS is a computer-based program. Cleveland State created videos, quizzes, homework and unit exams for the students to complete in a computer lab. Wyrick said the college partnered with Gear Up to provide Bradley Central with 20 computers.

Approximately 5,837 students are enrolled in the SAILS program statewide. A total of 1,800 completed the program by December. Of the total statewide number, 745 students are enrolled through Cleveland State. The local college has had 145 completers over their 10-school coverage.

High schools under Cleveland State’s wing include 11 area schools: Bradley Central, Cleveland, Walker Valley, McMinn Central, McMinn County, Polk County, Copper Basin, Meigs County, Tellico Plains, Sequoyah and Sweetwater.

Walker Valley High School will have 45 students enrolled for the spring semester. Cleveland High will once again have two classes. Bradley Central will not have classes as all of the seniors take bridge math in the fall.