Tuesday, August 21, 2012

About 20 percent of students at Fairview and Adams Elementary Schools said they have been hit, pushed or kicked by other students between one and five times a week in a survey the schools’ principal showed during Monday’s Carroll Community School Board meeting.

The same data show about 35 percent of students had the same problem at Carroll Middle School and 81 of 346 11th-graders (23 percent) who participated reported physical bullying.

About 65 percent of Fairview and Adams students also said they’ve seen between one and five times per week someone else be hit, kicked or pushed.

More than 20 percent of students at Fairview and Adams said they felt between very unsafe and scared and kind of unsafe on the playground.

The survey was the first step toward a crackdown on bullying at Carroll Community Schools.

Principal Sue Ruch said Fairview and Adams will be targeting bullying on the playground because that’s where the school seems to be having the most problems.

Ruch said students have also been feeling bad because some students aren’t invited to join in some groups.

She said that problem is going to be addressed during recess as well.

The school is also implementing the Bully-Proofing Curriculum.

Middle School principal Jerry Raymond said CMS is going to address bullying during STAR Time, which is similar to a homeroom.

He said the anti-harassment and bullying has been in the school for a while, and he added Thetia Hall-Polking, the school’s juvenile court liaison, has been meeting with an anti-bullying group every week.

Raymond said of the 81 students who reported physical contact very few reported it to the school.

Carroll High School assistant principal Tammie McKenzie said part of the process already has been educating students and teachers on what constitutes bullying and harassment.

McKenzie said Carroll High School is one of few high schools in Iowa that have an anti-bullying curriculum in place.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board also discussed concerns about the Carroll Middle School’s Iowa Assessment scores.

“Our students didn’t perform how they have in the past,” Raymond said. “This year was a step backward, and we’re going to see what we can do about that.”
He said students struggled in math, reading and science this year.

Raymond said that in particular, males in seventh and eighth grades weren’t proficient in reading.

He said only 19 percent of  8th grade students met their growth goals in math.

Superintendent Rob Cordes said he isn’t sure that the assessment matches the district’s core learning values.

“I would tell you that the deeper we get into the expectations of the Iowa Core, the further away we get from the match of the assessment that we have,” Cordes said.

He said the test is outdated and that’s why Iowa has seen scores flatten.

Cordes said the only reason Iowa students keep taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Iowa Test of Educational Development is the tests were created in Iowa.

He said every school in the nation should try to take the National Assessment for Educational Progress because it’s much harder and up-to-date.

Cordes said the only reason that schools don’t offer that test is it would be hard to explain to taxpayers and communities why students aren’t doing better, because no one does well on that test.

“I would say that’s part of Iowa’s problem,” Cordes said. “We still don’t expect enough.”

During the meeting, the school board accepted resignations from Deb Klocke, bus driver; Tom Borchers, assistant softball coach; Amber Hoffman, dance team sponsor; Nicole Bills, teacher associate; and Alisa Kolars, teacher associate.

The board approved Tom Borchers as the new head softball coach and middle school volleyball coach, Kim Klein and Sara Hamilton as co-dance team sponsors and Todd Tidgren for seventh-grade volleyball.

The school board also approved Tasha Winkelman for a bus-driving position, Al Wernimont for a substitute and activity bus-driving position, Ron Roe for a bus-driver position, Paul Dern for a bus-driving position and Jeff Dvorak for a custodial position.