Greendale conference picks perfect time to discuss student behavior

Oct. 9, 2012

Greendale - A parent-oriented group meeting sponsored by the school district will cover a variety of subjects ranging from the new assessment of schools, technology, gifted and talented programs, the middle school experience and positive school environments.

Those subjects will be presented and discussed Oct. 17 as part of the Parents as Partners Conference at Greendale Middle School, which coincidentally takes place in the aftermath of the Sept. 20 bomb threat at Greendale High School.

Superintendent John Tharp said he expects some conversation may touch on the incident, but said the conference has much more to offer.

Still, he noted in his invitation to district families that "we take instances of inappropriate behavior very seriously. We will not tolerate harassment, intimidation or other actions that lessen the student experience."

The incident involved a high school student who was arrested for the threat and later told of his experience as the target of harassment.

Something to build on

Tharp said the school district and the community will form a task force to identify what is happening in the community and build upon existing programs and resources.

"We are asking students, parents, staff and community members and others to come together, identify the issues and challenges related to inappropriate behavior, such as bullying and harassment, and work together with us to establish additional safeguards and expectations," Tharp wrote in the conference invite.

Tharp, who came from Tennessee to take the superintendent position a couple of months ago, added that the district and community reaction to the incident and the way the district handled it was positive. He also noted that behavioral issues are universal and have not changed much over the years.

"I've heard a lot of positive feedback," he said. "My early sense is that this community is very supportive of a healthy and safe environment.

"The biggest change in behavioral issues is the medium," he added, noting social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

Focus on assessment

Beyond the behavioral issues, Tharp said he looks forward to delving into the meeting's other topics, including school report cards.

"As you know, Wisconsin is in this new era of accountability as we assess with a new lens," he said. "We have to communicate that and discuss how we can move forward academically."

Parents as Partners is co-sponsored by the Greendale School District and Partners for Community Action, identified by the district as "the framework under which Greendale Schools and identified partners collaboratively work to map, identify, create, reflect and evaluate programs and initiatives geared toward improving the odds for success in school, work and life for Greendale youth."


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