Dayton Rotary Club Welcomes Stacie Lott, Nottingham Principal
President Tami Pierce introduced this week’s program, Mrs. Stacie Lott, Principal of Nottingham Alternative Education Campus. Mrs. Lott started out by explaining the acronyms of DAEP (Discipline Alternative Educational Program) and AAEP (Academic Alternative Educational Program). The main difference between the two programs is DAEP are for students who have made some poor choices resulting in a discipline placement while AAEP is a program for students to ‘fast-track’ towards graduation. Mrs. Lott has grown both of these programs over the years and has seen lots of changes. Many years ago, DAEP programs were strictly computer-based. However, being the outstanding educator she is, Lott realized early on, that students need regular routines and learn better with student-centered lessons. She has grown her campus to include certified teachers, a full-time counselor, elective classes and having their own library, cafeteria, gym and computer labs. The enrollment history for the DAEP and AAEP over the last several years and including this year’s numbers started the presentation. The DAEP program has serviced over 300 students while the AAEP program has taught 39 studentswith 26 of those students already graduated. Mrs. Lott explained to the Rotarians that even though the AAEP students finish their classes early in the school year, many come back and participate in graduation.
Other ways Lott has improved the quality of education for these students, include the implementation of Restorative Circles during the school day. This is a relational approach to build school climate and address behavior. It fosters belonging, social engagement, and meaningful accountability for the students. These classes are held Monday-Thursday every week along with their regular classes.
Another new program was the creation of the leadership class this year. This provides students an opportunity to expand their skills in order to positively influence their life. Topics covered so far this year include: Career Aspirations, Job vs. Career, Military (job and school), Understanding of FAFSA, Peer Influence, How to Overcome Individual Circumstances, and Character Education in the Real World. These lessons are taught by Coach Brian Courtney every day of the week and is part of the daily scheduled classes. Mrs. Lott gave accolades to Mr. Courtney stating, “We require our students to write a reflection letter at the end of their time at Nottingham. Over 90% of the students write about Courtney’s impact upon them.”
The next topic that the principal discussed with the club was vaping. Due to the national epidemic of vaping, Nottingham started another counseling program called Be Vape Free Class - each class is 4 sessions. So far this year, 63 students have completed the class with a 94% success rate (non-repeaters). Counselors April Hamilton and Melissa Waller teach these lessons. The program has four different sessions that the students rotate through. Topics discussed in the Be Vape Free Class includes: Physiological and psychological properties of nicotine, Contents of eLiquids, Strategies used by manufacturers to appeal to youth, negative impact on lungs and brain, Texas laws and updates, setting healthy boundaries and the science of signs of addiction. They also discuss ways to manage stress, discuss positive coping skills and gives them resources to help with quitting.
On the Instructional side at the Nottingham campus, Mrs. Lott has added a new interventionist position, which is being paid for through ESSER grant funds. She specifically did a ‘shout out’ to Mrs. Suzanne Hicks, who comes over and services the ESL (English as a Second Language) students. “Mrs. Hicks supports/encourages and motivates them to do their best. Some of the discussion topics she addresses with them are Behavior, Academic Vocabulary, Essay Tips, and Details on Literary Selections.”
Principal Lott also told the Rotarians that she works closely with Ms. Bea Garza (District Attendance Clerk) and Judge Conner for excessive absences, which has resulted in court-ordered AAEP placements, court-ordered tutorials after school, reduced absences, and also adds another layer of intervention to support the DISD students.
The Dayton Rotary Club asked several questions and learned that Dayton’s DAEP and AAEP programs are making a difference in the lives of these students. President Pierce thanked Mrs. Lott for all she and her staff does for our children.