March 9, 2005 - A state-issued grant is helping students at Catalina Foothills High School gear up for passing the AIMS test.

Currently, the high school is offering tutoring sessions for students who failed the AIMS test their sophomore year. The class of 2006 will be the first required to pass the AIMS test to graduate.

The Catalina Foothills School District was given $25,380 in state funding to provide students tutoring before school, after school and on weekends, said Terry Downey, associate superintendent for the district.

The tutoring begins a month before the AIMS exams. Students take the reading and writing portion of the exam in February and the math portion in April, Downey said.

The tutoring is only given to those students who were "invited to participate," Downey said. The invited students are those who did not pass the exam as sophomores.

State aid was given to high school juniors in various districts and charter schools throughout Arizona. The $10 million in funding helps the upcoming seniors pass the AIMS exam, according to a Jan. 10 transcript of Gov. Janet Napolitano's State of the State address.

It is not known if funding will be given again next year to help aid in the tutoring costs. So far, it has only been awarded for this school year, Downey said.

About 5,000 students attend the Foothills high school, and 94 students in the school's class of 2006 did not pass the AIMS test as sophomores, Downey said. That number does not just reflect students who have failed - it may also reflect students who were not at the school during their sophomore year, she said.

In addition to the tutoring assistance, the district also provides review sessions, which are offered during seventh period each day, a week before the test. These are free and open to any students feeling they need a little extra help, Downey said.

If the district believes some students need daily, yearlong AIMS help in certain areas, such as math or writing, students can participate in an "extended classroom experience," Downey said.

"It is an ongoing part of a program for students we feel aren't as well prepared as we would like them to be in content areas," Downey said.

The extra class meets each day, just like any other class would, she said.

"That is something else that we are providing for students that may have particular difficulties," Downey said.

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