Southwest High School Thoughts–Part Two

Looking over that last blog post, I decided some of the incidents mentioned (sex in bathrooms, pot smoking, defying authority, truancy) are probably happening at every Kansas City high school.  These are teenagers, right? Yet when the Kansas City MO police department get called to the school over 50 times in two months–that is not a common high school occurance.  It’s the frequency of the incidents and the lack of discipline/respect for education that is most worrisome.

So, what to do?  As much as I would like to say the parents need to be pro-active in solving these problems, I think the school district and Southwest school administration need to take the lead.  Here’s a few suggestions:

1.  Teachers must have control of the classroom for effective teaching. If they can’t control the class–get help and/or get a new teacher.  How many unemployed teachers would be willing to come in and help out on a contract basis? 

2.  Take the troublemakers out of the classroom.  Don’t just send them to the principal’s office.  Have a separate detention room or send them home. There MUST be consequences ENFORCED for bad behavior.

3.  Absolutely all teachers must take the lead from the principal and maintain (relatively) quiet, orderly classroom changes and hall atmospheres. 

4.  Identify the five most pressing problems.  Tackle them one at a time.  Hold staff accountable for the action steps that need to be taken to get a handle on the problems while working towards the solutions.  Form individual task forces to work on the problems with clear action plans.

5.  Try to involve the parents.  This one could be tricky.  There are some parents who  have disciplined their children and taught them how to behave in school, who have taught them the value of education, who provide a stable home life and teach values. There are parents who do not.  Still, involve as many parents as you can to help institute changes at the school.

6.  Involve the students.  What ideas do they have for solving the problems? They are living it every day–involving the kids in the discussion will win the school district more support from the very kids they claim to serve.

I’m very tempted to wander the halls and classrooms of Southwest myself –just to experience it.  I’m curious and yes, fearful, at the same time. Still, I just might do it–and that would be another blog post.

Thanks for reading this blog–you can reach me at mary.hutchison@prukc.com

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