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Months of research and deliberation by school leaders led to a presentation Monday evening of new professional development in connection with Ozark Guidance helping teachers and other school staff with school and student safety.

"We've been on a journey ever since the Parkland shooting," Rick Neal, school superintendent, told the School Board at the regular monthly meeting Monday. "Amanda Childs, with principals, have been trying to evaluate what we're currently doing and bring in the special pieces we need to keep us safe."

Childs, school social worker, told the board about the data collected and research into various mental health providers.

"This population that is really struggling -- aggression, physical aggression, bullying -- from kindergarten up. There are behaviors are becoming a lot stronger. Teachers are trying to provide as much intervention as they can."

She said sometimes dealing with one student can take away from the teacher meeting the needs of the other 25 in the classroom.

The board approved a commitment with Ozark Guidance for professional development for all school district employees and a three-year pilot program using Conscious Discipline, a comprehensive approach to social and emotional learning.

"Mental illness and behavior are two different things," Neal said. "Being able to identify those two pieces are very important. Our teachers are not trained to deal with specific diabolic behavior and difficult behaviors that keep teachers form teaching and students from learning. We have to have more training... It's so important."

Neal said he received a $5,000 grant from the Bella Vista Rotary to go toward the first year of the training.

In other business, the board:

• Created two new positions -- RTI TOSA (response to intervention, teacher on special assignment) specialist and director of counseling services;

• Hired Lori Lee, coordinator of nursing; Jamie Wood, director of counseling services; Linda Simpkins, bus driver; Casie Perkins, elementary teacher; and Christine Cline, RTI TOSA specialist;

• Accepted resignations from Paige Hendricks, Intermediate teacher, and Kiki Crider, dyslexia coordinator; and

• Accepted board to board transfers from Bentonville School District for Dalton Chrisman, Adin Richter, Hannah Richter, Matthew Dixon, Nevin Clause, Christian Clause, Jacob Talley and Shelby Dunlap.

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Safety, security are top concerns

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