• Grand Jury commends Middle School “Dot” program

    The 2007 Monterey County Grand Jury stated in its report on gang activity that prevention is key to long-term control of gang activity, and recommended that each school district in the county encourage after-school activities aimed at including all children, including at-risk students. In response, Pacific Grove Unified School District established the “Dot” program at the outset of the 2007-08 school year. The program is described as follows: “Teachers at all school sites reviewed the list of students in their classrooms and placed a dot after the name of those students whom they knew outside the classroom, through some other activity. Those students with no dots, meaning no one at the school interacted with them outside the classroom, were assigned to a staff member who engaged with that student in a mentor capacity. There were positive changes in those students’ self esteem as they became more socially engaging and their grades improved.”
    Staff at Pacific Grove Middle School is trained in issues related to the program. The staff also frequently reviews the program and discusses it regularly at staff meetings.
    The 2008 Grand Jury set out to discover whether the program is operating as described, and whether the program is repeatable or worthy of being repeated in other school districts throughout the county. The Grand Jury conducted interviews with key District personnel as well as observing and reviewing documents related to the Dot Program.
    “In at least one instance a review of students at the middle school without dots led to ‘adoption’ of a challenged student by a faculty member. This resulted in a positive impact on that specific child in terms of academic performance,” according to the Grand Jury report. Some students targeted as potential failures saw marked improvement.
    The program is being implemented at the high school level as well.
    The Grand Jury reported that the program “has inspired new energy and focus amongst the staff at the middle school” and commended the Pacific Grove Unified School District for its innovative and inspiring “Dot” program, while recommending that PGUSD continue the program as it is currently operating and expand the program to include all students in the District. They also recommended that the district collect, analyze, and report on the impact of the “Dot” program for other schools and districts to use in deciding whether to undertake a similar program.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 23, 2009

    Topics: Front PG News, Schools

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