CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) — The principal of Clinton Middle School traded her office for a rolling cart this month.
April Meyers says she was inspired by a Louisiana principal to give up her office for the month of November. Now, she spends her days rolling in the hallways and classrooms with her desk on wheels affectionately named “Cart Simpson.”
“I tried to come up with a catchy name and so it’s Cart Simpson and most of them respond well to that. They’ll either get a little giggle out of it or make some Bart Simpson comment,” said Meyers.
Being out in the school means she’s present, visible and readily available to teachers and students.
“A lot of times I find myself scurrying them on to class because we start talking and I’m like ‘oh you’ve got to get back to class,'” said Meyers.
Meyers is doing more than getting out of the office. She’s building relationships and proving that an administrator can be an ally.
“It’s a lot easier to talk to an administrator that you have that relationship and they know a little bit about you and so I feel like it’s really helped deepen those things and help us get kids to understand that we are here to support you and get you through this not you’re in trouble because you made a bad choice,” said Meyers.
New initiatives like “No Office November” are changing student behavior and the culture of the school.
She and her team decreased discipline referrals by 17% in the first quarter of the school year.
She’s learned many of the issues that pull you back to the office will disappear on their own with a supportive plan in place.
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“It’s just such a great staff here and we’ve been able to do a lot of really great things with the kids. Just working on the culture of the school. Just making sure they know they belong and that they are cared about, and I think we have seen a shift in academic success because we are really working on those relationships,” said Meyers.
Meyers has been named a regional semi-finalist for Principal of the Year for the state of Tennessee.