Brother Rice High School is proud to announce Mrs. Amy Guzek as the new Director of the FOCUS program.
Guzek will take over the reins from longtime FOCUS Director, Mrs. Christina Forbes, who is retiring this spring after 38 years of service. “Words cannot express the impact that Ms. Forbes has had on hundreds of Crusaders over the past thirty years,” Associate Principal Mrs. Karen Van Assen said, “but we are also excited about the new direction of the FOCUS program under Mrs. Guzek’s leadership.” Mrs. Guzek has over a decade of experience teaching in the public school sector, and she has helped rejuvenate academic resource support here at Brother Rice this past school year. The beehive of activity in the Resource Room over the past eight months is a clear indication of Guzek’s enthusiasm for helping students who require that extra support.
The FOCUS program at Brother Rice is designed for Crusaders who are approaching grade-level, core-subject mastery, but need a little more remediation. In smaller class sizes and working at a more deliberate pace, FOCUS students are able to practice skills and strategies that lead to more academic successes, ultimately bridging learning gaps. As Guzek puts it, “The goal of the FOCUS program is not to have a FOCUS program.” Indeed, by the onset of their junior or senior years, all FOCUS students have fully transitioned to college-preparatory classes that move at a more rigorous academic pace.
Besides continuing FOCUS’s former successes, Mrs. Guzek’s other goals for the program center around promoting increased generalization skills, so students can transfer their learning to new environments. Also a priority is helping students foster advocacy for their own learning, a necessity made even more apparent because of the recent pandemic. “No one can deny the consequences that this past year has had on student learning: their habits, their systems, and their attention spans have all been challenged. While Brother Rice teachers have done an excellent job at holding students accountable in extenuating circumstances, there are numerous remedial strategies and resources we have in the works to help promote increased executive functioning and lifelong learning to help them navigate this new normal,” Guzek says.
But the most important impact will be the increased role of Guzek herself. Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious, as any of her regular students will testify, and her approach revolves around having the same curiosity and drive she wants to see from her students. “Mrs. Guzek helped me ‘get it,’” one of her students said about the guidance he received for a recent assignment. “She breaks it down and asks me questions that help me see things a little differently than I do just in the regular classroom. The one-on-one attention really makes a difference. She’s awesome!”
Incoming freshmen enrolled in the FOCUS program are reminded that registration for summer remediation classes will take place on Monday, June 15, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The four-week summer session begins Monday, June 21, 2021 and ends Thursday, July 15, 2021. More information is available by contacting Mrs. Darlene Diehl at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mrs. Amy Guzek at email@example.com.