The Morehouse Parish School System believes that all students can succeed, and to help students do this they are starting a school monitor program this September.

This program came into being through conversations between Superintendent David Gray, Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor Ralph Davenport, and some local ministers.

“Some ministers approached me and asked how they could help and what part they could play in the community,” said Gray. “Later, Mr. Davenport and I were talking, and he mentioned that this program had been used here in the past and we decided to start using it again.”

This program, starting at Morehouse Jr. High, will bring together local ministers to monitor halls and be mentors to students. Monitor's duties include supervising students in the hallways, reporting illegal activities, monitoring non-school personnel, maintaining positive communication with students and staff, working one-on-one with students struggling in school, and other tasks. Monitors will have two-way radios to communicate with school administrators, by whom they will be supervised.

The men are also encouraged to hand out Ram Bucks to students with good behavior. These Bucks can be used to buy pencils, notebooks, and other rewards from the PBIS store.

The main purpose of the school monitor program is to set positive examples for students and to motivate them to do their best. Superintendent Gray believes these men will have a positive impact on students.

“These are adults that have experienced problems and experienced life,” said Gray. “I hope through this program students will be provided with good role models that set great examples.”

Superintendent Gray and the men also want all the children to know someone cares about them.

As the school monitor guidelines say, “Some students may not have a parent active in their life, and school monitors help youngsters feel there are adults who care about them.”

There are, of course, limits to what they can do and rules they must follow. To become a monitor individuals must pass a drug test and a background check. Those who act as monitors must not initiate prayer or any religious instruction, they must keep information they learn about students confidential, and must refrain from taking pictures.

“We don't want anything to cast a bad light on our program,” said Davenport.

Another important goal of the program is to get parents more involved. Davenport wants to eventually have parents and community individuals working with the ministers. He hopes to get parents more involved with their students and change any bad views they may have about the schools.

“The ultimate goal is to get more parents involved so they can see what goes on at the campus,” said Davenport. “By getting the parents in here we can change their attitude, get their support, and make the school better.”

Morehouse Junior High Principal Marilyn Taylor looks forward to the new program, hopes it can be of help to the students, and is excited to work with the ministers.

“I'm looking forward to working with you and seeing you on a daily basis,” said Taylor.

This program at Morehouse Junior High is just the start, however. They hope to keep expanding it throughout Bastrop.

“We plan to expand this next to Bastrop High and then to other schools,” said Davenport.

A meeting was held for the ministers at the Morehouse Junior High campus Wednesday, September 5. Mr. Ralph Davenport discussed the duties of Monitors and talked about the rules, and a tour of the school was given.

Mr. Davenport and the ministers look forward to starting the program and helping the community. Superintendent Gray thanked the ministers who volunteered and looks forward to the positive impact the program could have on the students.

“Thank you so much,” he said. “We're going to make a difference.”

Anyone who wishes to help is encouraged to volunteer. Those interested should contact Ralph Davenport at 283-3467 or 282-2166.