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Cheektowaga Central School District officials said a new ninth-period program for junior high school students who have not done their homework is beginning to stem discipline and study problems with seventh- and eighth-graders.

The average number of pupils attending the extra period has dropped from about 62 a day to about 43 a day, Cheryl Buggs, dean of students and director of athletics, told the School Board Monday night.

The program was launched this year after officials noted a high rate of failure in the junior high school last year.

Superintendent Leslie B. Lewis said the program allows teachers to assign the extra period if pupils do not fulfill all their academic responsibilities during the regular eight-period day.

Many of the those assigned to the extra period have failed to complete homework or other assignments.

"This teaches kids responsibility and shows them there are immediate consequences," Lewis said, adding that the period is not considered detention.

Lewis said less than 20 percent of the district's 380 junior high students are involved in the program.

Trustee Leon S. Regent suggested that school officials may want to look at extending the program to the fifth and sixth grades, but Lewis said that at this time such an expansion is not needed.

In another matter, about 25 members of the Cheektowaga Central Teachers Association picketed the meeting. The 163-member union is in its third year without a contract. Neither teachers nor district officials would elaborate on the negotiations.

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