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Leadership changes announced at TUSD school

Posted at 11:51 AM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 13:51:27-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Both the principal and assistant principal of Secrist Middle School have been reassigned to different positions in the district.

In a press release Wednesday night, Tucson Unified School District spokeswoman Stefanie Boe says both Principal David Montano and Assistant Principal Lupe Duran have been reassigned.

This comes one day after KGUN9 reported an investigation into discipline problems at Secrist Middle School.

Ms. Marcia Volpe will step in as principal at Secrist Middle School next semester. According to Boe, she is a seasoned administrator in both TUSD and Amphi School District.  She was principal at Cholla High School and Assistant Principal at Tucson High Magnet School.

An assistant principal for Secrist has yet to be named, but should be in place when students return from winter break in January.

The district's CARE Team spent weeks on campus working with teachers and staff to put positive interventions in place and move the school forward, said Boe. It is the first time the district has had a CARE TEAM perform such evaluations, and they were offered to principals at all TUSD schools.

On Wednesday night, district leaders addressed parents at a PTA meeting. Michael Konrad, who oversees TUSD middle schools, discussed some changes that would be made to improve the learning environment at Secrist. He says they have already started seeing some positive changes, and the behavior he's seen at Secrist isn't unlike any other middle school.

When asked why Secrist has had more issues than other campuses, he said that the student population had doubled in the last few years when the school combined with another. He also says that there were a large number of substitute teachers at the middle school, that may have not had the proper training.

Below are a number of changes being made at Secrist: 

  • A new hall pass policy, which will limit how often and where students can leave during class.
  • A more uniform disciplinary system. For example, a student will be given two opportunities to redirect their disruptive behavior, with a warning and reflection sheet. 
  • Teachers at Secrist will also be able to assign lunch detention to those students breaking the rules, but not disrupting class. Parents must be contacted, and the student will have to write an essay about the importance of responsibility and behavior.

Some parents, like Jeannette Hurtado, don't think the changes will be enough. She joined the PTA, because she had seen so many issues with TUSD schools and wanted to take action.

"They're saying that there's less students in the hallway, I just saw that this morning," Hurtado said. "There are not less children in the hallways, and there were four adults that they passed an didn't ask for a hall pass. It's obvious. All you have to do is sit here to know those things are not happening."

Additional resources have become available at Secrist, including an additional hall monitor, and a second counselor that will start work in January.