Fort Miller's new Principal talks about changes

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A Fresno Unified middle school plagued with a high suspension rate and violent incidents now has a new principal. (KFSN)

A Fresno Unified middle school plagued with a high suspension rate and violent incidents now has a new principal. Mike Jones is hoping to turn things around at the school and talked to Action News about the changes he's already made.

Jones has been visiting each classroom with the school's new Fresno Police School Resource Officer. Principal Jones is telling students about the four rules he's going to be enforcing. They include: no cell phones, no sagging pants, no profanity and coming prepared to class every day. Jones says, "We're going to change with those four [and] create a culture with those and add things to that as we see things need to be changed."
Jones took over as principal a month ago. No one had physically been in the position for some time as the former principal was on medical leave. Recently, complaints have been coming in two-fold to the Fresno Unified School District from parents and teachers. Many say students are acting out and undisciplined, and that the campus is unsafe.

Mike Jones says, "There have been problems. There still are problems but we are moving forward and we're trying to make it an exceptional place for kids to go to school."

Jones knows that improvements won't happen overnight but he says the environment and culture at the school is already changing. He says more than 90% of the students at Fort Miller good kids who are eager to learn. His second week on the job, he implemented something called "A win a week" which he says instills positive stories to help build trust and respect between staff and students.

Jones says, "Each Friday we post the wins. If it's a real positive situation like last week we had our girls basketball team win the city championship. That not only made the win column but it made morning announcements."

When Mike Jones started at Fort Miller Middle School suspension rates were some of the highest in the district. Jones says he expects those numbers to go up before they go down as new policies are being implemented.
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