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Homework Hotline on air in St. Charles

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 12, 1998

LULING – Almost all of us remember having a math problem we could not solve in high school. Studies have shown that math is one of the subjectsmany students have trouble with and probably the one they need the most assistance with.

In recent years, homework hotlines have been set up to assist students with problems. Students call in their problems and have someone, either ateacher or a student, guide them through solving it.

When the St. Charles Parish School System launched its homework hotlinethis year, it decided to take a different approach. Now students problemscan be solved not only over telephone wires but over the airwaves as well through an interactive television program conducted by students.

The St. Charles Parish School System Homework Hotline began airingTuesday night on Channel 8 and will run every Tuesday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The program begins with a live introduction by students explaining the program. A 30-minute tape presenting different concepts of math is thenshown. At the first airing Tuesday, “Math Dude” took the students throughthe concepts and a different idea will be tried weekly, showing students and parents what and how students are taught in school.

After the tape, the program comes back live with students presenting news and information about the school system. This week, for example,news on the parishwide HOSTS program and the United Way was presented.

Regina Benoit, public information director for internal affairs, said every week a different service organization will be presented.

In the final 50 minutes of the program, students and parents will have the opportunity to call in and e-mail problems. Teams of students fromDestrehan and Hahnville high schools will guide the callers through the problem, allowing them to see as well as hear how to solve it.

The students are divided into three teams of four students each – one consisting entirely of Destrehan High students (Team Destrehan), one of Hahnville High students (Team Hahnville) and one with students from both schools (Team Central). Each team also has two teachers from DestrehanHigh, Hahnville High, R.J. Vial Elementary, Norco Elementary 4-6 and theCentral Office. Those teachers will also perform the math conceptsportion of the program.

But besides those teachers, the production is done entirely by students, from production to the on-the-air announcers. Team Production consistsof seven students from the two high schools with the students rotating in groups of five. The on-air tutoring positions were open to all students in11th and 12th grade who were interested in math and communications. Thestudents applied for the positions and then went through an interviewing process. Students were then hired based on their ability and interest inmath as well as the ability to be in front of the camera and teach.

The video production assistant positions were also opened to all 11th- and 12th-grade students and were selected by the video production supervisor.

They are responsible for everything from operating the audio to setting up portable lighting and video cameras.

For this semester, the Homework Hotline is targeted to math students in grades 4 through 6. On Dec. 9 and 10, the Hotline will run an Algebra Ireview for high school students taking exams. Benoit said if everythinggoes well and the response to the program is good, it may be expanded to two days a week in the spring, one day for students in grades 4 through 8 and the second for high school students.

The Homework Hotline can be reached by calling 785-7239 or by e-mailing hotline@stcharles.k12.la.us.

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