Reports on the A+ program at Monett High School and how other campuses in the Monett R-1 School District plan to improve operations were given at the December meeting of the Monett R-1 Board of Education.
David Miller, high school assistant principal, reported that the A+ program has enabled Monett High School to expand curriculum, reduce the dropout rate and assure that students will leave school with marketable job skills. Students qualifying for A+ benefits have to complete challenging studies with identified learning expectations.
Miller hoped to increase tutoring opportunities that would enable participants to meet their required hours for mentoring and aid students needing extra help. Another goal would continue raising the number of students in A+.
In the present school year, 62 students or 44 percent of the graduating class have signed up to participate in the A+ program. Incoming freshmen have the highest commitment rate at 54 percent or 97 students.
Monett Elementary plan
The number one goal reported by Monett Elementary (MES) Principal Susie Gasser for improving her campus is to retain 90 percent of the certified staff, or 40 of 44 teachers, for the coming school year.
For student performance, Gasser wanted to see the average mastery level in communication arts and math increase by 5 percent in first and second grades. Such improvement would reduce the lowest performing students from 23 to 17 percent in communication arts and from 17 to 12 percent in math.
To aid the process, Monett Elementary has begun implementing Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), a tested national program that helps replace challenging behaviors in students with more pro-social skills. One out of five students tend to show extreme behavior, creating half of the behavioral incidents, according to national statistics.
PBS focuses on the context of inappropriate behavior to see what benefits the child gets from it. Minimizing the benefits of problematic behavior increases the function of desired behavior. At MES, a focus room has been provided for intervention before punishment.
PBS requires an individualized approach to each student and collaboration between parents, teachers, counselors and administrators. Tier 2 groups are now available daily for behavior and social intervention.
Using the PBS process would help address a third major goal cited by Gasser, which is to reduce office discipline referrals by 25 percent, from 147 in a year to 111.
Central Park Elementary
Principal Annette Cozort cited several goals at Central Park Elementary. In both communication arts and math, Cozort wanted to boost the number of students scoring in the top two tiers of state tests by 10 percent, as well as reducing those scoring below the basic skills level.
She targeted improving the performance of 17 fourth graders in communications arts this year and 19 fourth graders in math.
For the faculty, Cozort identified using strategies and language objectives daily to help English language learners. Providing effective professional development would train highly qualified staff who would stay with the district.
To promote a safe and productive learning environment, Cozort planned to increase positive social and academic behaviors.
The most significant new strategy introduced in the current school year involves using the Rosetta Stone program in foreign languages for third and fourth graders. Expanded language skills would increase reading, vocabulary and writing abilities in a student's primary language as well.
Cozort also cited introduction of the PBS strategy and training teachers how to use it. Faculty will work with the counselor on social skills, behavior and goal setting with students.