Discipline takes center stage at BOE meeting

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By Reann Huber staff writer

Morgan County Board of Education discussed the status of hiring the new MCHS principal, student discipline objectives, and other future plans at this month’s meeting. As many know, MCHS principal, Jim Malanowksi, will be retiring at the end of this academic year and the board is in the final process of hiring Malanowski’s replacement. Interviews for the top three candidates will be held this week, and the board will meet again after the interviews to make a recommendation and approval for the new principal. MCHS Assistant Principal, Ryan Rickard, also gave an update at this month’s meeting on the Student Behavior Committee and their most recent objectives.

“Discipline is always a hot topic,” Rickard told the board. “We’re being proactive and engaging with not only our administrators, but our external stakeholders as well, when we’re discussing discipline.” Objectives for the committee include meeting monthly with internal administrators and external stakeholders to discuss disciplinary practices, aligning the student behavior code of conduct with state matrices, and monitoring district-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implementation at the primary, elementary, and high school.

The committee had other concerns for the students, like mental illness, physical aggression, disrespect, attendance and tardies, tobacco use, disenfranchised students, and de-escalation techniques. Mental health is a main concern among the committee and community, as it has become more recognizable as a behavioral problem. “We would love to have some sort of mental health professional where they’re able to help them out and provide resources for the county,” said Rickard. “Right now, our counselors have been great resources, but…it would be great to have someone in the county to help us out with mental health issues for our students.” The board also went over their facility designs and procedures, including the new transportation facility and the College and Career Academy (CCA). Superintendent, Woodard, said the transportation facility has a projected January or February finish date and the CCA is in the process of reviewing the preliminary architectural plans.

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