By Denise Dick
City school board members are concerned about behavior and discipline problems at two schools and have initiated solutions to address them.
Board member Jerome Williams expressed concerns about East High School, while board members Jacqueline Adair and Marcia Haire-Ellis voiced concerns about Programs of Progress at Wilson, an alternative school. Wilson, where many students have social, emotional and behavioral issues, sees a high number of suspensions. The district has tried different approaches for the students the last few years.
“We keep putting on a Band-Aid, but we’re not looking at the systematic problem,” Haire-Ellis said. “We need experts to come in and look at it and see what the problem is and see if it can be corrected.”
Adair said she planned to meet today with a social- work professor at Youngs-town State University to see what can be done.
Board President Richard Atkinson said that’s up to the superintendent.
“You’re getting into the responsibilities of running the schools,” he said.
Adair said she’s just going to get information that she’ll bring back to the board. The board can then decide whether to direct the superintendent to act on it.
“I don’t think, as an elected board member, I need permission to do that kind of thing,” she said.
Williams said he’s heard from members of the public concerned about behavior problems at East. He recommended formation of an East Academic Improvement Committee to address those concerns.
“We have to control the school,” Williams said. “We have to make it a safe environment for the teachers and for the students.”
The committee would include 12 people: two members each from the East administration, school board, teaching staff, student body, parents and community.
The committee’s goals as outlined in Williams’ plan would be to identify the issues/problems preventing students from obtaining academic excellence at East, prioritize the issues, brainstorm solutions and make recommendations to the school board.
Atkinson said Williams’ recommendation would be given to Superintendent Connie Hathorn to have him come up with a plan to address problems, which is in accordance with proper procedure.
In other business, the board hired Misha Scott as principal for the new Discovery School at Volney, a program set to open next year. Scott, an assistant principal at East, begins her new position Tuesday. The annual salary is $80,081, which will be prorated at $21,209 this school year.