By JANE KROGMAN
Detention and suspension are often debated as to their effectiveness in schools. In fact, MCHS faculty and administration have committed to creating more effective consequences to prevent and deter misbehavior and truancy.
It is our primary goal in student conduct to work with students and families to help students feel success at school. To this end, we want to assist students in changing minor behaviors before suspension and expulsion become necessary consequences.
One proactive step to prevent student misbehaviors is through a teacher assistance team (TAT) meeting. Any parent or teacher who notices a particular recurring behavior, whether behavioral or academic in nature, may ask for a TAT meeting to be held. In the meeting, all teachers of the student share strengths and areas of concern as they relate to the individual student, working together to find ways of helping the student to be successful at school.
Although it is inevitable that students will exhibit behaviors that require suspension or expulsion, it is far more common to work with students whose behaviors may be dealt with through detention or other natural consequences. This article will address the development of a structure for detention time in which students will be required to attend school on Saturdays. This plan, developed by the deans and the assistant principal, is being implemented for the second semester of this school year and is a proven program in many schools throughout the country.
For those students whose misbehavior or truancy is a concern, we believe that Saturday School will provide a suitable consequence for inappropriate behaviors and will serve as a deterrent of future unacceptable behaviors or poor attendance.
Detention will be held twice each month, starting Jan. 18. Parents will be notified by their child's dean in regard to a Saturday School assignment. Detention will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and will last until 3 p.m., and if the student is assigned more than three hours of detention, s/he must bring a sack lunch.
Students are required to bring school related work for the entire time they serve in detention. Any student who is not working on schoolwork will be asked to leave, counting the Saturday as a missed detention.
A student who is assigned but does not attend Saturday School or who is sent home for lack of work will be required to bring a parent or guardian to meet with a dean or the assistant principal on the Monday morning after the missed Saturday School. Individual discipline plans will be set up with students and parents for any student who does not serve his/her assigned detention.
We recognize that the support of parents and guardians is vital to the success of any program or procedure at MCHS and that a true partnership with parents, students, faculty and staff, as well as administration is the key to reducing behavioral and attendance concerns.
We are asking for the entire learning community's ongoing support in teaching our students that there are appropriate consequences for their behavior, both now and in the future. If you have suggestions not only on how we may reduce behavior and attendance issues but also on how we may reduce suspensions and detentions, we'd be happy to hear from you!
If you have questions about Saturday School, please feel free to call a dean, assistant principal, or principal at MCHS. (Jane Krogman is the Moffat County High School principal).