ARC Makes a Comeback


English teacher Andrea Haapanen and freshman Anna Helble enjoy a moments conversation. ARC will help these organic moments become more frequent.

Elyse Frechette, Staff Writer

After the success of last year’s ARC pilot, students were sad to return this fall with no ARC on the schedule because of ongoing negotiations. However, ARC is back and will begin Tuesday, February 25  and students could not be more appreciative of it.

“I’m so happy because I really like ARC,” says freshman Jessica MacDonald. “Especially being a student-athlete, I don’t have a lot of time to do my homework, normally, without ARC. With ARC, it helps me get my homework done and study for tests. Also, I can do extra work with teachers if I don’t understand the topic. So, yeah, I’m really excited.”

“ARC helped me get my homework done, study for tests, and manage my time better. It gave me more time after school to do things I enjoy, like sports, instead of homework,” Haley Chaves, a sophomore, adds.

For many years, students of all ages at HHS spoke about the stress they felt due to school. Assignments on top of sports, school plays, and other after-school activities are enough to make anybody worry, especially older students with more advanced and time-consuming classes coupled with after-school employment.

Last year, a solution was presented to the HHS community through the ARC pilot. ARC stands for Academics-Relationships-Community. It is a program that provides students with 40 minutes of time every day to prioritize their learning by selecting from various extra help or enrichment opportunities. The pilot gave students the opportunity to sign up with their teachers for extra help in an added period between the second and third blocks every day. In addition, to extra help, students caught up on work and engaged in enrichments. ARC was a widely-praised daily program that students, parents, and teachers found beneficial.

“With ARC, you actually have a chance to give some thought to ‘Okay, I need to go here. I’m struggling in science, or maybe I have a paper in English.’ You could start to take control over your own learning, and I think that was always our plan,” said history teacher and ARC Committee founder June Murray.

“I think ARC is a good idea if students and teachers would take advantage of it, so, I’m hoping that if students need to learn something, they’ll go to the right class and get the help they need in that class so they don’t have to stay after school,” says Rik Rowe, an Algebra teacher new to HHS this year.

ARC provides students a chance to catch up on missing work, get ahead on assignments like homework, and talk with teachers when they need to.

Due to feelings of stress or anxiety, students tend to take frequent trips to the nurse’s office or the bathroom to get a break from schoolwork. It was seen that less students were found to do this last year, during the ARC pilot.

“We saw a significant decrease in the number of student visits to the Health Office last year during ARC,” says HHS nurse Pat Emmons. “We suspect this is a result of several factors: students receiving extra academic help and support, an opportunity for students to get caught up on academics or start their homework, and students being excited about and engaged in the variety of enrichment opportunities that were offered. All this leads to decreased stress and improved student wellness. Welcome back ARC!”

In addition to a refreshing break and a chance to do assignments, enrichment classes are offered to students to expand their horizons beyond their common core classes. You could learn German, meditate, or play chess, to name a few. It’s a great chance to learn more about things you’re interested in, which aren’t typically offered in school.

“One enrichment I took last year was sign language,” says sophomore Angel Bethea. “Before that class, I didn’t know much about it … from that class, it really taught me skills that connected to my work. I was able to help a deaf costumer because of what I learned.”

Beginning February 25, HHS will use this schedule for classes with the inclusion of ARC

Even though current eighth-graders haven’t experienced it yet firsthand, they’ve heard good things about it from upperclassmen. 

“I’ve heard that it’s a program to have a block where you can get homework done, meet with teachers, and get help,” says eighth-grader Lila Rice.

The questions eighth-graders and other new students have about ARC will be answered on Tuesday, February 25th, when the program is scheduled to start up again. It begins on a Tuesday rather than a Monday, like last year, to avoid conflict with frequent Monday holidays. When students meet with their assigned mentor teachers on Tuesday, they will schedule their classes from Wednesday to the following Monday.

“My favorite thing about having ARC back is being a Tuesday adviser,” says art teacher Jenna Johnson. “I’m excited to have my students back from last year; I’ll be able to reconnect with them because normally I don’t see students again after one semester with them. I’m eager to build that bond with students throughout their time at Hudson High.”

The announcement welcoming back ARC for February 25 occurred via email on January 31 by Principal Jason Medeiros to staff and parents.

“For those who were anticipating ARC happening as early as September, I know this notice is coming later than you would have hoped. We are excited, however, about the opportunity to continue the program with the time that we have and are looking forward to watching students grow as a result of all that ARC has to offer.”

Parents received this information sheet from Principal Jason Medeiros on January 31

In a separate correspondence to staff, Medeiros expressed his support for the program.

“Personally, I am very excited to see ARC in action. It was something that I heard a lot about in the hiring process, and the concept of a flexible-scheduling block has a lot of potential to meet the diversity of needs in any school community. I look forward to being a part of ARC’s continued success and growth.”

“As someone who worked for three years, from the idea of ARC to the actual implementation of the ARC pilot, I’m really excited that it’s coming back,” says Murray. “It clearly made a difference in the lives of students, as we thought it would … we wanted [the students] to prioritize academics.”