By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON – Discipline referral reports at the Mt. Vernon Township High School dropped by 7 percent in the 2012-2013 school year, according to a newly drafted administrative report.
The key now will be to build on that success and aim for even lower numbers in the future, said Rowdy Fatheree, a new assistant principal at MVTHS who began work in July.
Fatheree delivered a report at Monday's MVTHS Board of Education meeting on the state of discipline and attendance at the school.
His report was part of an in-depth presentation that evening on several facets of MVTHS, given by members of the school's Leadership Team.
In 2012-2013, there were 4,721 discipline referrals at MVTHS, compared to 4,584 the previous year. The most common types of discipline problems were tardies, disrespect, and truancy.
And while discipline numbers were favorable in the report, attendance figures were not heading in the right direction, Fatheree said.
In 2012-2013, overall attendance at MVTHS was at 93.85 percent, down from the previous year's 94.26 percent.
But even with the decrease, school officials have set an attendance goal of 94.42 percent for 2013-2014, Fatheree said.
“We want to keep track of it month by month,” Fatheree said of attendance.
Fatheree also presented three solutions to help lower discipline referrals and boost attendance.
They include: switching the school over to the Skyward online referral process, setting a goal of having 75 percent of MVTHS staff make contact with 75 percent of students' parents during the first semester, and nominating an “Attendance Office Student of the Month.”
The last solution is an example of how students can be motivated by reward, not just punishment, Fatheree said.
“We (talk about) using the carrot and the stick,” Fatheree said. “This gives us the opportunity to throw that carrot out there.”
Monday night's Leadership Team presentation also included reports by Assistant Principal Julie Littlefair, Assistant Principal Rob Pipher, and Athletic Director Doug Creel.
A key point that arose often in the presentation was the importance of getting students on the right path during their freshman year, and how that helps them through their entire high school career. The MVTHS Freshman Academy has been successful in that regard, said Principal Wes Olson.
“The freshman year is a real crucial piece for us.” Olson said.
Other MVTHS Board actions Monday included:
n Adoption of the 2014 Area Vocational Center budget.
n Approval of the tentative 2014 MVTHS budget, pending final approval of the Finance Committee. A public hearing has been set for the budget for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23.
n Approval of a temporary loan transfer from the working cash fund to the TORT fund.