double-entendre -- a goal and an acronym which stands for
'performance, respect, integrity, determination and excellence'.
motivational slogans and programs built around them are common
in educational and other organizational settings, Pullig said
his intention is to go much deeper and create what amounts to a
new culture at one of the oldest schools in the state. Mount
Pleasant traces its heritage back 176 years to the beginnings of
public education in Delaware.
career at the school began as a substitute teacher and was named
acting principal this year,
As a student I recognize that I should
take all efforts to perform up to and
beyond my potential.
I understand that I need to respect my
fellow students as well as the adults
and staff in the school & community
building Mr., Ms., Mrs..
Throughout the situations I find
myself in high school, I know that I
need to act appropriately, not allowing
profanity or poor actions reflect upon
who I am.
I know that my education is the key to
my future. No one can take that away
from me, I have to be present and on
time to acquire what I need.
In all activities in which I
participate in and outside of the
classroom, I am afforded with
opportunities to demonstrate my ability.
The pledge that
Mount Pleasant students take.
said that's not
so much image-building but a means to deliver quality education
to the nearly 1,000 students. "It's all about students' needs.
It isn't an issue of image," he said.
[The 'acting' is
in Pullig's title because the Brandywine School District was
awaiting the arrival of a new superintendent when the
appointment was made.]
acknowledges that a sort of back-handed congratulations he
received when his appointment was announced provided some of the
inspiration to launch the effort. The comment implied a belief
that Mount Pleasant is not a comfortable place to be. That,
Pullig said, is anything but true, but the misperception is more
widely shared than he'd like it to be.
"Like any school
we have challenges we have to work through," he said. "But those
challenges are certainly not insurmountable."
academic year began, Pullig presented the faculty and staff.
Their obligations, he said, is straightforward: "Teach every
student as if they were your own [children]."
brought aboard by signing 'pride cards', a sort of pledge to
measure up to the program standards. "It was a way to get their
attention right away," Pullig said.
Next step will be
to call a meeting of about 25 to 35 students who are identified
as influential among their peers as a way "to make them feel
connected." That, he explains, is not like student government
but a one-on-one approach that is expected to spread through the
In addition to
encouraging parental involvement, he also intends to provide
opportunities for area business people and residents of the
community around the school to see for themselves what the
school is like.
So far, he said,
there are early indications new attitudes are taking hold.
incidents during the first month of the academic year are
significantly below the same period a year ago, he said. "We've
seen a difference. ... The most serious [violation] we've had
was a girl using profanity to an administrator."
On the other side
of the ledger, faculty and staff members are citing students
"caught doing something right," he adds. The most notable
incident in that regard involved a boy who discovered a vending
machine unlocked and reported it rather than helping himself to
some of the contents.