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Carlisle principals speak of changes at their schools

After almost two months in school, Carlisle principals spoke to Carlisle School Board members about changes at the two schools during their meeting Monday, Oct. 14.

During the summer, elementary principal Karen Norton said she had the opportunity to meet with every staff member and the common thing she learned from them there was a concern in discipline and behavior.

So, she said, a leadership committee was appointed by their peers to come together to address behavior and teach through the discipline consequences.

Norton said the school focuses on bucket fillers. She explained that the school has two books, titled “How Full is Your Bucket” and “Have You Filled a Bucket Today.” It was explained to the students that they are either bucket fillers or bucket dippers, so they either take or fill in someone else s emotional bank account.

She said the committee came up with ideas for school wide rewards to catch students being good.

“We want to identify those behaviors. We want those kids that are struggling to meet those exceptions,” Norton said. “We want to give them something as a model.”

She said rewards are given to those students who make an A in citizenship for the first nine weeks, then for the rest of the nine weeks during the year, it’s not just about having an A, but about growing. She said the rewards won’t cost a lot of money, but will be fun.

“Behavior is on the upswing,” Norton said.

She said teachers have given positive comments about the reduced number of disciplines.

Norton said coach Lonnie Roberson gives the Iron Bison Award each week for those students who show good sportsmanship.

“He is really building those character traits within these kids,” Norton said.

She said the school also gives the golden tray award in the cafeteria.

Norton also spoke about other happenings around the school.

This year, Norton said the school has a new computer lab and the students at every grade level are going to the computer lab once a week.

Norton explained morning announcements were boring due to the intercom system and it was hard to hear them, so the gifted and talented teacher Jennifer Park and her GATE students now do video announcements every day, that include the one minute of silence, weather and the pledge of allegiance.

“We really have some student voice going on at our school,” Norton said.

She also said the Carlisle PTS is funding a new sound system in the cafetorium for about $7,200 and the content teachers are having weekly planning meetings about common core curriculum guidelines.

Superintendent Jason Clark said he has seen students in Norton’s office and she is very firm with them, but he can tell she is making an impact.

After results of also talking with staff, high school principal Brad Horn said he has four goals.

Number one, he said, is that teachers feel supported. He said he does this by visiting classrooms a lot and being a presence in the hall ways during the transition time.

Number two, he said, is collaboration among faculty by incorporating the faculty thoughts in his decisions.

Number three, he said, is generating a positive environment by giving positive feedback to teachers when he exits a classroom.

Number four, he said, is raising test scores. He said the school has 7th/8th grade focus classes for those students scoring below proficient on the benchmark exam, so those students are placed in focused math classes, so they can work on their weaknesses. Horn also said there are 7th/8th grade enrichment classes for those kids that score proficient or advanced, so they are given enrichment classes to make them even better. Lastly, Horn said, he started a mentor program for at risk students, who are placed in the program due to their economic status or they scored low on the benchmark. He explained that teachers drew names for students and check on the students at least once every week.

Clark said Horn has turned the high school morale around, which he said is due to the students and staff knowing he is 100 percent in, first thing in the morning, in the halls and classrooms.

“The first nine weeks at both campuses has been a success,” Clark said.

In other business, board members signed paperwork.

Board president Terry McCallie signed the statement of assurance that states the district is in compliance with items such as academic standards and physical education.

McCallie also signed the equity report. Board secretary C.J. Parker will also sign the form, but was absent Monday night. Clark explained the equity report is a government statement that states the school district is in compliance in all forms of equity, which are ESL, disability education act, race equity and gender equity.

Clark told board members that the after school care program didn’t work due to lack of participation by only having one student enrolled in the program.

The next board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 in the administration building.

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