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Addressing disruptions in the classroom

By Mark Porterie

On behalf of the Port Arthur Independent School District Board of Trustees, staff and students, we would like to thank the entire community for the overwhelming support that has been given to us.  We certainly appreciate everything you have done and would ask that you continue to support us in our time of transformation.

As we advance with the implementation of our bond projects, we want to continue to encourage our community to see where your talents lie in the implementation.  It is the policy of Port Arthur Independent School District (PAISD) to form business alliances with Local, Minority, and Women-Owned Business Enterprises that result in successful opportunities for providers of certain categories of products and services.  For program Information and Assistance, please contact Calvin W. Stephens at (409) 332-3019 or locally John Comeaux at (409) 332-5259.

Moving into the 2015-2016 school year, our focus will be on strengthening the delivery of Instruction, improving student learning and performance, and addressing student discipline.  We applaud our classroom teachers for the job that they do every day in preparing our students for success.  It is our goal to continue to support our teachers, especially our less experienced teachers, by providing professional development in all areas throughout the year and not for just a one-day professional development, expecting that they should have all of the answers.  No, the goal for PAISD is to work hand in hand throughout the school year to ensure support is provided that is meaningful and effective, enabling teachers to deliver the approved curriculum with the rigor and high-yielding strategies and meet the needs of all students as expected.  We realize that even when a viable curriculum is provided, and teachers are growing and are committed to teaching, the environment must be conducive to the “teaching and learning process.”   Yes, the classroom must have order.  We will have to address the student whose behavior is distracting and even disruptive.

We are looking at our Student Code of Conduct and ensuring that the expectations are clear to our community.  Parents will have to take a more active role in changing the behavior of students who continually cause disruptions in the classroom or on the campus.   It is simply unfair to both the teacher who wants to teach and to students who want to learn.  For all to have to tolerate a disruptive student that requires the teacher to continually spend time redirecting and addressing his/her negative behavior is unfair and unacceptable.   We do understand that every child has a right to a free and appropriate public education.  However, when is it enough? When does it cross the line if other students are unable to receive the education they deserve because a particular student or some students choose to be disruptive — in the classroom — at the schoolhouse.  And yes, to be frank, we have some parents/guardians who do not assist us in redirecting their children (perhaps a few, but for education, a few are too many if it prevents learning). Yes, some, in fact, blame the district for the child’s inappropriate behavior.  What I want our community to understand is that we work with the students that come to us from families across the district.   Therefore, it is imperative that our community realizes that we will no longer tolerate student behavior that continuously disrupts teaching and learning in the classroom.  Total responsibility for a student’s actions must be taken by both the student and his/her parents or guardians.  Each under-age student has an adult to whom he/she is accountable after they leave school.  Our students must understand that they are accountable to those in charge of their education at school and work cooperatively, providing respectful actions and language to administrators, teachers, school employees, and fellow students.  It is simply what is right!

Yes, we will continue to support in the way of programs, positive reinforcements, communication with parents, and whatever it takes to have each child to be successful.   However, during the summer months, we will have community meetings where you will be able to hear and understand the upcoming plans that we have for addressing negative behavior of students in our classrooms and on our campuses.   It is our job to address the concerns of all students, including the students that come to us wanting to learn but too often are being denied that opportunity.

Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District.