Monday, October 20, 2014

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Program takes students back to Medieval times

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TWC News: Program takes students back to Medieval times
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Some Bastrop ISD students are not only going back to school, they're also going back in time. They’re venturing out of the classroom for lessons taken straight from the Middle Ages.

Tuesday's opening ceremonies marked the beginning of an elementary and intermediate school education program called EarlyAct FirstKnight.

"This program is about instilling character in our schools for our students," Principal Richard Batlle said. "We discuss a different character virtue such as responsibility, honesty, compassion and so on."

The program rewards behavior befitting a knight. District teachers say it has even helped limit other kinds of less noble jousting.

"Our discipline programs have gone down, dramatically. The lessons that they encourage us to teach are age appropriate. They're excited, the kids are interested," Teacher Tori Malone said. "We're really actually able to teach. We spend that five or 10 minutes, first thing in the morning, working on the character trait periodically, when needed, but we don't have to stop."

Previously, the program was only available to students at one Bastrop ISD school. The principal there credits the program for a 40 percent decrease in discipline referrals.

Now, the program is going district wide.

"You really have to provide that kind of education because if they don't have it, academically, they will not be successful," Batlle said.

It’s a basic foundation built by knights, which district officials hope will help slay bad behavior in the classroom.

The program is funded through the Bastrop County Rotary Club. At the end of the program, one student who exemplifies each character trait will be chosen and receive the honor of being knighted.

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