ASAP in the Virtual World

The After School Academic Program, or ASAP, in the Middle School launched in the 2016-2017 school year. It provides resources to help students finish their homework, which includes having both humanities and STEM teachers present. The program also seeks to help students organize and plan their weeks to build “executive functioning” skills that will be needed in the Upper School. Seventh and 8th grade students commonly take advantage of this time to get homework finished and to get extra help before their athletics practices begin. “We wanted to make sure that we had a really structured area where students could grow academically,” said Callie Bambenek, ASAP Director and Middle School Science Teacher.

What happens, though, when students are learning from home, or are assigned to cohorts at school designed to minimize interactions that can lead to the spread of COVID-19? Enter Virtual ASAP, developed by Bambenek and offered via Zoom this year. Bambenek knows that this program is integral to the academic success of many students, and she wanted to continue offering this valuable resource. In addition to redesigning her own curriculum as a Middle School science teacher this summer, she worked on transferring the carefully and thoughtfully developed ASAP program to an online environment. Sixth Grade Dean Mark Duvall’s hopes for a similar program for the younger Middle Schoolers took shape at the same time. ASAP Jr. was born, and both programs are now up and running for all Middle School students. “The beginning of the year is really important for 5th and 6th grade students in developing strong study habits and skills, as well as feeling comfortable and confident with technology, so we pushed to get ASAP Jr. ready for this fall,” said Duvall.

How It Works

ASAP and ASAP Jr. provide structured slots of time from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. and 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. each school day to support student academic growth and achievement. Time and virtual space are scheduled for ASAP’s faculty to actively assist students in four main areas: homework help, organization and time management, and study skills (general and subject-specific). Rather than the feeling of a large study hall, as in-person ASAP commonly runs, students meet with grade-level faculty for targeted questions or generalized study help.

Students register for ASAP themselves (an action that fosters a sense of ownership and accomplishment in itself) each day by 1 p.m. by using a Google form and their MICDS email addresses. The teachers and subjects available are noted on the daily form, so students can plan accordingly. After registration, they are given a Zoom link and can work silently in the Zoom session or in a virtual waiting room until they are connected with a teacher. There may be peers receiving the same help at the same time, contributing to a sense of community.

This virtual program launched on Monday, August 24, and each session, the program is seeing both reoccurring and new students take advantage of the resource. Bambenek said, “As students become more acquainted with the virtual school day, we will see more and more students using both ASAP and ASAP Jr. to meet their individual learning needs. After the Labor Day Weekend, students will be able to use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature for group projects and skits. This option allows students to have added collaboration time and interaction with their peers which we know at this point is so important to their social-emotional development.”

For more information about ASAP and ASAP Jr., please contact Callie Bambenek.

Many thanks to our dedicated ASAP and ASAP Jr. Staff.

ASAP Staff

  • Callie Bambenek, Director of ASAP/Jr., 8th grade Science
  • Emily Coppersmith, 6th/7th/8th grade Spanish
  • Maggie Dunson, 7th grade English
  • Lev Guter, 7th grade Math
  • Olivia Halverson, 7th grade English
  • Rachael Maurer, 5th-8th grade PE, 7th grade Co-Class Chair
  • Chaley Poth, 8th grade Math
  • Jason Roberts, 5th-8th Vocal
  • Patrick Woessner, CIT
  • Krystal White, 8th grade Math

ASAP Jr. Staff

  • Dustin Delfin, 6th grade Math
  • Mark Duvall, 6th grade History, 6th grade Dean
  • Missy Heinemann, 5th-6th grade Drama