by Collin Burwinkle
Something new this year to the school is the Learning Enrichment Center (LEC).
The LEC was initiated by Principal Rev. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B., to help further enhance the learning environment on campus and work toward better accommodation of the great variety of individual student needs.
“The goal of the LEC is to help students develop skills and strategies that will enable them to become independent, active learners and to achieve academic success,” Fulton said.
Strategies such as individual and small group tutoring, test-taking tactics, writing skills and others will be used to help students achieve higher grades.
The LEC is similar to the AIM program, except the LEC specializes in study skills, time management and how to become a better student for all grade levels.
The AIM program is only peer mentoring typically in content-specific tutoring for freshmen.
The LEC does have a program specifically directed towards freshmen though, called SOAR, which involves setting goals, organization skills and asking questions.
“Students who learned formalized study skills in high school have a much higher percentage of college completion,” Dr. Teresa Shaffer, director of the center, said.
The LEC provides a special opportunity for students, and the leadership assigned to it combines experience and expertise.
Shaffer, who has a Ph. D. in Curriculum Development from Texas A&M University, is proud to be the first director of the new department.
Carmen Garrett, the first learning specialist in the LEC, has over twenty years of experience working with students with learning difficulties.
“We are thankful that Dr. Shaffer and Mrs. Garrett have joined the St. Thomas staff in our pursuit of teaching and learning excellence, and I know that you will welcome them warmly to our community,” Fulton said.
The LEC is open to all students regardless of GPA or academic standing. It operates during school hours, and staff is available by appointment before and after school. It is also open to students during their study halls, but arrangements must be made beforehand.
The LEC is located in the old study rooms of the library and has its own section to the right of the entrance. Renovations were made over the summer to accommodate the new department.
In addition to helping freshmen, the LEC provides a great opportunity for transfer students needing support to transition from their old school and current students on academic probation or who are struggling.
“It’s not just for struggling students though,” Shaffer said. “It’s for the student who wants to bump his 88 to a 90 as well.”
The LEC is here to help students become better learners and reach their academic potential, even if they are not struggling at all, but just want to get a little better.
Effective study habits are what shape a good student.
The LEC provides students with the tools and training necessary to become effective in handling the work load that comes with being a student here. Those that are feeling overwhelmed by their course load often need assistance.
This golden opportunity must be taken, as students perpetually work toward the goal of graduating from St. Thomas and being prepared for college.