Clear Fork Middle School principal talks out-of-school suspension data at board of education meeting

By Louise Swartzwalder - The Star

Students who received out of school suspensions at Clear Fork Middle School lost 215 days of instructional days, and only a small percentage handed in school make-up work, Clear Fork Board of Education members were told last week.

Jennifer Klaus, principal at the Middle School, said 52 students were suspended. Roughly 30 percent were repeat offenders, she said.

Of those suspended, only 28 percent handed in work, Klaus said.

Students surveyed said instead, they watched tv (58 per cent) or played video games (37 per cent).

These are students who are 11 to 14 years old, she said. Thirty percent of them said they were left unsupervised.

Klaus said she thinks “you need to be here no matter what.”

Out of school suspensions are “punishment, not discipline,” she said.

Of those suspended, 50 per cent said they had learned something, but the rest didn’t, she said.

Clear Fork principal Brian Brown said there could be an “intervention” for students. When students turn to online schooling that means a loss of $5,900 per student.

Klaus said she believes the alternative to out of school suspensions would be in school suspensions, where students could be “kept in and learning.”

More information about a new curriculum described last month was presented by Stacey Swank, Clear Fork Curriculum Director.

She said the program, which sets up a literary coach in each school building, would be expensive the first year. A trainer from the Ohio State University would travel to Clear Fork to work with teachers.

The program runs for three years, and growth shows in the second year, she said.

The curriculum for kindergarten through twelfth grade would cost about $199,438, she said last month.

With 1,645 students in the school district, this breaks down to $20.21 per student each year, or the equivalent of about $500 per classroom annually, she said.

Board member Dan Freund said he had seen the program used in Mansfield, and the results there were “phenomenal.”

He said that is a “solid literary collaborative school.”

By Louise Swartzwalder

The Star

Reach Louise at 419-886-2291

Reach Louise at 419-886-2291