Dr. Douglas L. Ragland
As superintendent of two school systems we provided a variety of psychological and social support needs. My goal as superintendent was to teach the whole child and this included psychological and social service support. We provided every single school a full –time guidance counselor to meet the psychological emotional, and academic needs of students. In cases where we were dealing severe special education disorders, we partnered with outside community agencies in assisting us either by sending a psychologist to our schools and in some instances we had to enroll students in special services programs conducted by outside agencies. We had eligibility and building leadership teams at the school level to evaluate students, develop effective strategies for teacher use in deterring negative psychological actions of students, and to recommend students for testing and to be placed in a special program either in the school setting regarding special education or an outside agency specializing in the identified psychological issues manifested by students. On the other extreme, these teams was responsible for identifying advanced or gifted children to be placed in a gifted program in the individual school setting or a district-wide gifted program. The goal was to provide the proper education in the school setting to meet the students’ needs emotionally, behaviorally, socially, and academically. In regards to services available in the districts I served, there were many. We offered and implemented guidance and counseling to all children, and extra-curricular activities in the areas of spelling bees, debate, oratorical, forensics, poetry, athletics and the like. Health services offered were through every school having access to a school nurse for physical analysis and treatment, and community agencies assisted us in providing information and presenting programs to students in relation to health related issues. Our teachers had basic support services provide to them in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. All classrooms were equipped with state of the art technology such as computers and Promethean Boards, teachers were provided personal laptop computers and monies from the district to purchase supplies, schools were equipped with computer, science, business education, and distance learning labs. Our Career Technical Education Center had 10 programs and each one was Business Industry Certified. This center had all of the necessary resources to prepare students to learn trades in a variety of areas such as nursing, cosmetology, auto mechanics, welding, and the like. Last but not least, I was very blessed to authorize and equip each school and all buildings in the district with security surveillance systems. In relation to crime and violence in the districts I served, we were very successful in deterring these issues. First, and foremost we had a very strong code of conduct to address disciplinary issues regarding crime and violence. We were very supportive from the school board, superintendent, principals, and teachers in enforcing and holding students and staff accountable in following this guide. As a result, we had minimal expulsions in the district. We also had a very successful Alternative School Program for students who were disruptive and created problems in the regular school setting. This program allowed them to be placed in an environment as a punitive measure, and where they could learn and be subjected to stern rules and expectations in correcting their behavior. Once their behavior is corrected and the assignments are completed according to the expectations of the Director of the Alternative School, the students would be eligible to have a post conference with their parents and system administrators in determining whether they should return back to the regular school setting. We also had excellent relationships with the local police, District Attorney, and Sheriff’s Offices in being available to us in monitoring school and district-wide events. Also we had a partnership with a local security firm that supplied the district with internal security officers based at our high school, but accessible to our schools when needed. Last, but not least we had security and surveillance technology at all schools, the central office, and on all school buses, thus deterring and eliminating crime and violence significantly. This is in essence a summary of the resources used to support teaching and learning in the districts I served.