A middle school which has seen more than its share of challenges in the past several years is discovering that getting students involved reduces suspensions.

Getting Students Involved Reduces SuspensionsStudents were engaged in a seventh grade engineering class, learning about how computer coding works, when two students pushed a dolly with large boxes through Elizabeth Simpson’s classroom door.

This interruption created great excitement among them students at Greco Middle School.  They knew if was their 3-D printer.

Simpson was delighted.  The printer will allow herstudents to create three dimensional projects.  It is one item in a group of efforts to increase student involvement at the school.

Greco Middle is a Title 1 school and 91 percent of the students receive free or reduced price lunch. The school has had a few bad headlines, featuring struggling students, a teacher who was convicted of having sex with a 14 year old boy, and gun violence.  However, Simpson is Greco’s teacher of the year, and she has seen some distinct improvements this year.

“It’s been less work for me. I don’t have to do as many team-building things anymore,” Simpson said. “The career academy model really helps get kids affiliated with something in the school besides academics or sports and gives them something to look forward to, like a family type atmosphere that has meaning.”

Greco is also adding career academies, courses, and new clubs, as is the rest of the Hillsborough School District. The new approach is written into the student handbook stating that the school will find out why each child misbehaves and help them to make changes, rather than the same punishment for all.

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