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School Board hears from Critzer, new middle school

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

The Pulaski County School Board held a reorganization meeting this week, which dealt with various issues of protocol.

The board voted to retain Timmy Hurst as Chairman of the School Board with Michael Barbour being re-elected to serve as Vice Chair. Teresa Porter was reappointed as School Board Clerk with Brenda Crawford retaining her position as Deputy Clerk. All school board members and staff holding special posts were re-elected to fill those positions. All decisions were made with unanimous votes, including the decision to retain the current seating order of board members.

Critzer Elementary School Principal, Amy Williams, gave a spirited presentation about a new initiative involving the ABC’s … Attendance, Behavior and Classroom activities.

Perfect attendance is stressed at Critzer, with the names of students who haven’t missed school posted outside of every classroom. Various awards and recognitions are given to students with perfect attendance. Last year, FATZ restaurant donated 400 student meals to Critzer Elementary and these meals are given to five students every week as a reward for good attendance.

Williams also explained how she has implemented a “Check In/Check Out” policy for those youngsters who find themselves getting into trouble on a regular basis. When the “kiddos” with behavioral issues check in they are reminded of which areas they fell short and when they check out, they bring a score sheet showing how they performed that day.

“We had some boys who just loved to beat the snot out of each other last year but now they’re all excited to show us their Check-In/Check Out score sheet, so it’s really powerful,” said Williams.

Since adopting the Check-In/Check-Out systems of discipline, there has been a 55 percent decrease in Office Discipline Referrals and a 71 percent decrease in School Suspensions from the year before.

Following the Critzer presentation, representative for Skanska gave an update on the progress of the new Pulaski County Middle School.

Work involving the drilling and blasting of rock was completed last month, as was the fill work for the building pad. Grading at the main campus area, except for the track/football field, is expected to be completed by Jan. 18. Grading on the track/football field is expected to be complete by early Spring and the entire athletic campus area is expected to be graded by this summer.

Crews have completed rough grading for the main entrance for the new school and in addition an access road was installed from the construction entrance to the main building pad to allow construction workers easier access.

Branch and Associates are said to be just starting their construction work, though there little visible evidence of this at this early stage.

Work continues more or less on schedule for the new middle school with the completion date still expected by the summer of 2020.

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