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Malabar greets 4th-graders with message of safety, academic upswing

Fourth-graders and their families meet teachers during orientation in the Malabar Intermediate cafeteria.

   The faces are new and so are the windows but the priorities at Malabar Intermediate School are unchanged: Safety. Academics. Respect for others.

   Incoming fourth-graders and their families were welcomed Tuesday evening during an orientation session in the cafeteria followed by classroom visits.

   Malabar’s cafeteria, office area and classroom wing feature new, energy-efficient windows installed this summer as part of a $160,000 improvement project.

   Approximately 250 fourth-graders are expected when school starts Aug. 21. Malabar, the district’s second-largest school, had an enrollment of 724 in grades 4, 5 and 6 when school ended in May.

   “Safety always is our top priority. We will do the best we can to keep your children safe,” Principal Andrea Moyer told parents. “During the day the doors will be locked. If you visit you will have to push a button (to be recognized) to get access. We also have two security people walking around to help.”

   Assistant Principal Tom Hager echoed the emphasis on safety.

   “We are here to protect your child. Teachers will be everywhere when your child enters the building,” he said.

   Moyer also asked parents’ help to continue Malabar’s upswing in academic scores.

   “I am so proud of the kids here last year. We were up in every subject, some as much as 20 percent,” she said. “Are we where we need to be? No, but we are making progress. We need your help. It is important that you read with your children and go over their basic math facts.”

   Moyer and Hager emphasized the school’s zero tolerance for bullying. Parents were given printed sheets describing what bullying is and isn’t.

   For example, Hager said, repeated bumping into someone or deliberate pushing, shoving or tripping is bullying but an accidental bump in a cafeteria line is not.

   He held up a cellphone to make an emphatic point.

   “I consider this to be a weapon because it can be used to harass or bully. It causes lots of problems. We’re here to learn, not to deal with those problems,” Hager said. “Parents, talk to your kids.

   “If a student has to bring a cellphone to school with parents’ permission it will be locked up and stored safely until the end of the day.”

   Hager also touched on the school’s dress policy, explaining that sandal-type sliders are not permitted. Jeans with holes in them will be allowed only if leggings are worn beneath them.

   “I understand that jeans with holes are fashion but if we see your skin, we’ll call your parents,” he told students.

   Again this year, fourth-graders will have an opportunity for a week of swimming instruction in the Malabar pool in cooperation with the Mansfield Area YMCA.

   Complete information can be found on Malabar’s home page by going to the district web site, www.tygerpride.com, and clicking on “schools” at the top.

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