Saturday school continues aiding students despite volunteer shortages for some subjects

The Saturday school program requires volunteers like English teacher Margaret Hemmingson, who has been supervising it since 2019, to keep it afloat.

The program was implemented to help students who are struggling or need a quiet space to do their work on the weekends.
“There were quite a few [students] right as the quarter was ending, and I think that’s typical, which is why they try to have more Saturday schools toward the end of the quarter,” Hemmingson said. “That’s when students are always trying to make things up and get their last-minute grades.”

One or two teachers attend Saturday school for each department. This can lead to teachers needing to supervise students taking classes within their department but do not teach.

“If it’s a remediation or giving the test, I can do that super easily,” social studies teacher Alexandra Riddell said. “If it’s the content, I’m not an expert in some of those subjects, so it’s a little more difficult.”

Junior Sebastian Vasquez attended Saturday school sessions on Oct. 23 and Nov. 20.

Though Vasquez said he finds the lack of teachers as volunteers a disadvantage currently, he still plans on continuing to attend Saturday schools throughout the remainder of the year.

“I think in the past, there were more teachers that were willing to come in,” Hemmingson said. “But there are fewer this year. I think part of that is that we’re all kind of worn out still.”

She also said the pandemic has led to a decrease in teachers’ ability to attend the help sessions.

“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and I think that people are more willing to spend their Saturday mornings at home, taking care of their families,” Hemmingson said. “I think that might be part of why it’s more understaffed now.”

The next Saturday school is scheduled to take place on Dec. 11.