Mt. Vernon Register-News

February 20, 2014

Disrespect, truancy reports down at MVTHS

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Disrespect and truancy reports are on the decline this year at Mt. Vernon Township High School, according to a report by Assistant Principal Rowdy Fatheree.

At the same time, however, the overall number of discipline referrals is tracking up so far this year.

Even so, Fatheree said this increase may be due to a higher number of PE dress infractions and cell phone violations, which are not as serious as the disrespect and truancy offenses.

“We'll definitely target those for the future, but those are not as major as the disrespect referrals that we were seeing in the classroom,” Fatheree said. “So that's very positive news.”

Fatheree's discipline report was part of a detailed presentation delivered by school administrators at Tuesday night's meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education.

The presentation was a mid-year report designed to outline the school's status in areas such as discipline, attendance and academic performance.

Fatheree also spoke of student attendance Tuesday. He said the district is on track to meet its goal of 94 percent attendance by the end of the current 2013-2014 school year.

MVTHS had improved attendance for three out of six months so far this year, despite some inclement weather, Fatheree said.

“Overall, we're about a quarter of a percent higher than where we were last year and on track to meet our 94 percent attendance goal,” Fatheree said.

Assistant Principal Rob Pipher delivered a report Tuesday on student academic performance, which he said has remained consistent so far this year.

Currently, 85 percent of MVTHS students are earning A, B or C grades. The school's performance level, Pipher said, has been at 85 percent for the past two semesters. This level does meet the district's overall goal.

However, an estimated 6 percent of MVTHS students are receiving failing grades so far this year, which is 1 percent higher than the district's goal of 5 percent.

Math has been one of the district's problem areas in terms of grades, Pipher said.

This school year, a sophomore math class and a junior math class had higher numbers of students failing, which contributed to the 6 percent figure, he said.

Pipher said he hopes the implementation of new Common Core standards nationally will improve student math performance at MVTHS in the future.

With Common Core, grade school students will all be taught the same math curriculum, which will help them when they come to MVTHS, Pipher said.

Also, transfer students coming in from other states will have been taught Common Core at their former schools, he said. As a result, all students will have the same learning background in math.

“We get a lot of kids that come from different states and different areas,” Pipher said. “It'll help us as a school, but also help our students.”

Pipher added that the Common Core standards emphasize critical thinking rather than just the memorization of facts.

“The goals are to make students better thinkers, better learners, better processors of information versus memorizers,” Pipher said. “So the testing and the things that they're looking at doing aren't geared towards memorizing data and learning facts, so to speak, but being able to take facts and take information and process it and think it through.”

Pipher also said 92 percent of seniors at MVTHS are currently on track to graduate. The district's goal in this category is to be at more than 90 percent.

In addition Tuesday, Principal Wes Olson spoke to the MVTHS Board about the school's Freshman Academy and the students' use of Kuno tablet devices in the classroom.