First at six...a look at discipline...in your children's classrooms.
Last school year, parents complained to the Bibb county school board that there was no system for dealing with a lack of discipline in schools.
It happened during discussion about the Macon Miracle strategic plan.
This year, the district has a new plan they hope will ease concerns.
Candace Adorka sat down with a deputy superintendent to learn about the new discipline system.
Deputy superintendent of student affairs Ed Judie says in the 2010-2011 school year, there were 743 expulsions.
But in the 2011-2012 school year, there were about 17.
Parents complained this meant students who behaved badly were being kept in the same class as students who were trying to learn.
The issue also came up in a safety report this summer.
It reads... Bibb ocunty school district has significant problems with under-reporting of student disciplinary incidents, and in some
instances, even criminal acts committed by students are not reported.
Judie says fixing that is the first priority.
<I can asure you that if there's any way that there is a climate out there that does not give people an opportunity to report, it is our job as leaders to make sure we change that climate so that people feel comfortable in reporting incidents.>
Under their new system....as incidents are reported... they fall into ten categories on a district-wide computer system.
So administrators will know if... For example... a student regularly bullies others... Consistently misses school... Or has failed multiple semesters.
From there.. The process looks like this... Administrators will investigate the incident... The student would have a hearing... And they could land at one of three alternative schools.
Judie says it's a matter of identifying the problem, removing the disruptive student, and giving them the help they need.
<the discipline issues in the district we hear the public loud and clear.They will see a change in the way that we deal with discipline issues. We're not gonna use these harsh draconian methods, we're gonna use a balanced approach. Those cioldren that need to be disciplined they will be disciplined, if they need services, they will be provided serivces. They will be removed form the environment if theyre a threat to themselves and to others.>
Judie says they'll know the system is working when the students in the alternative shcools show progress... and earn their way back to a regular classroom.
Candace Adorka 13 wmaz eyewitness news.
The district also put together a discipline task force.
It's a group of school employees and community members who examine discipline policies and recommend changes.
Ed Judie says they have been meeting for months, and will likely be in place until the end of the school year
We wanted to know... If you think discipline's a problem in your community's schools.
In our 13WMAZ web poll today, 74 percent of you said yes... And 26 percent of you responded...no...it's not a problem.
Here's an update on a story we brought you earlier this spring.
District Attorney Greg Winters says his office dropped charges against Samuel McPhee...a Weaver Middle School teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student.
Winters says they dropped the case last month...after talking to witnesses.
He said investigators could not prove that the assault happened.
McPhee was the school's chorus teacher..but was placed on leave when he was arrested in May. He is not listed on the school's web site for this school year.
County leaders approved a Master Plan for Lake Tobesofkee more than a year ago... but now they're looking for ways to fund most of the projects.
They plan to build rental cabins.. More pavilion space and a water park... But commissioner Joe Allen says they don't have the money.
Since being approved.. They've torn down two buildings at Claystone Park and moved the management office into a temporary trailer.
Lake director Doug Furney says they're in desperate need of some upgrades.
Commissioner Allen says they're looking for public-private partnerships to make the plan a reality.
A funeral arrangements will be held Saturday for longtime Bibb County Public Servant Larry Justice. He passed away Tuesday at the age of 74.
Hart's Mortuary says the funeral will be this Saturday at 1pm at Mikado Baptist Church on Houston Road in South Bibb County.
Visitation will be held Friday night from 6-8pm at Hart's at the Cupola on Peake Road.
At 27 years old... a math teacher who got his start at Warner Robins High School... Earned the distinction of Houston County Teacher of the Year.
His name is Larry Wadsworth... and he says.... his passion for learning propelled him to the top ranks of his profession.
Lorra Lynch Jones explains how he's come so far... So fast.
Larry Wadsworth makes no bones about it...
<i'm a nerd. I'm a goofball.>
He accepts it.. And says students embrace it.
<they call me a nerd all the time. Im like I am what I am.>
He loves math and computers...
<I don't care what it is I'm learning. I just love to learn.>
And he says that passion spreads.
This school year... he's applying it in a new setting... No longer at the head of his math and computer classes... Where he earned the county's top honor for his teaching skills.
He took a job that allows him into other teacher's arenas... Teaching them to use technology.
<training teachers on that will allow other teachers to have the success I've had the past couple of years.>
He knows that success came quickly... Sometimes still getting confused for student.
<there's still plenty of kids much bigger than me. Especially, the football players.>
but his youth may be his best asset.
<the more enthusiastic I think any teacher is and the more passion they have, it always rubs off because it gets the kids excited. They feed off that energy.>
Wadsworth hopes the knowledge he shares in Houston classrooms this year... continues to ignite excitement through technology.
And he's not entirely losing the classroom experience.
<with my twins on the way...>
Yes.. He said twins. two boys due in November... And his lesson plans are already in the works.
<when they find what their passion is, I'll definitely push them and help them in that direction.>
In Houston County, Lorra Lynch Jones, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.
Wadsworth will be entered into the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.
He'll compete with nominees from around the state.
The winner will be announced at a banquet in Atlanta in May.
Earlier this week... We introduced you to three of our candidates who will meet next Tuesday in the Bibb County School Board race for district one.
Today...we move our focus to district two...where Thelma Dillard will meet Alan Taylor...and Angel Davis-Hopper in the contest for that seat.
Ms. Davis-Hopper was invited to join us in studio today and was unable to make it...but we thank the two of you for being with us.