Better discipline at MCES
By Kathryn Schiliro
At Morgan County Elementary, it takes working as a TEAM to cut down on discipline problems.
School counselors Stacy Dearing and Bethany Carter, with the help of four students, spoke to the county school board about the school's TEAM Discipline program at the board's meeting Monday, Nov. 12.
TEAM stands for "Think, Engage, Appropriate language and Manners," and the approach calls for individuals to be accountable for their actions based on these four tenants. When a student is disciplined at the school, they have to answer to which of these they broke, how and why.
To keep the concept fresh, students recite the TEAM pledge each morning.
The program also takes a community approach. Students earn tokens for good TEAM behavior; those go into the class' pot as part of a contest.
For their part, teachers are now coding discipline referrals based on which area was broken, allowing them to keep statistics on TEAM. To improve communication, each student has a Google doc shared among all teachers so that all parties have access to complete and updated information.
"It's been bought into by the entire staff and students," Carter said.
Implemented in the 2010-2011 school year, data shows that discipline referrals have decreased between August and October for each of the school years since. There were about 90 referrals in the three-month period in 2010-2011; about 83 in 2011-2012; and just over 40 this school year.
Part of the TEAM presentation, student Gabby read the board a book she penned outlining the differences between bullying and conflicts.
As is monthly tradition at board meetings, each of the schools took their turns sharing information with the board:
• Morgan County Primary School's Lindsey Peaster and Monica Semrad, who just returned from presenting at an international conference in Austin, Texas, shared what they presented: writing instruction through graphic organizers, something the two have implemented and worked to improve in their shared classroom over the last five years. The program is geared towards children at risk of having literacy problems and focuses on different ways of organizing reading and writing based on maps, diagrams, basically drawing it out.
While the conference was made up primarily of university researchers and instructors, they seemed very interested in the graphic organizers, the teachers said.
• Morgan County Middle School's Kathleen Bryant, drama teacher, introduced the One Act team, made up of 22 seventh and eighth graders. Recently the team went to state competition, the fourth year they've done so, and won first place. Additionally, Will Aiken was named "Best Actor" in the state.
• Morgan County High School Assistant Principal Jean McIntosh told the board the school had many applicants for the statewide Governor's Honors Program, held each summer in Valdosta, but that interviews narrowed it down to six.
Professional learning lately has focused on differentation as far as student learning. Additionally, teachers continue their work in rolling out the Common Core curriculum. Even teachers outside the realm of core areas are working to incorporate the Common Core into their classrooms as well, McIntosh said.
• CrossRoads' Jannie Broadnax, co-principal, shared that the school currently has 29 students in grades seven to 12, and their goal is a smooth transition back to the middle or high school. Additionally, the school's implemented the READ 180 program, which the high school currently has in place.
Printed in the November 22, 2012 edition