New principal says Isbell Middle School is not the old Isbell
By Brian D. Wilson
Santa Paula News
Published: September 19, 2012
Isbell Middle School principal George Alessi took over the job at the school this year after 11 years as an assistant principal, and he said this is not the old Isbell.
Walking around the campus and into classrooms, one can see the shining floors, clean walls, and students working on their assignments. Alessi tours the campus at least once a day, and has even gotten students to help him keep things clean by picking up trash.
He has high hopes for the school, and even said, “This will be a Blue Ribbon School.” He seems to have the support of the staff, who say positive things about him, and students seem to like him as well.
Alessi said the district has been extremely supportive and generous. “They’ve provided us with a repaved parking lot, my understanding is that there’s going to be lighting, they helped us by redoing the fabric on the walls in the main building upstairs and down, and repaired the damaged glass in the display cases.” He added their goal to make the school a “park with books” is really going to require support from the community.
“Isbell is the only middle school in Santa Paula,” he said. “The community deserves and the kids deserve and the families deserve for this school to be a showplace of pride.”
Alessi said that this is the “new Isbell” and they want it to be a positive place that is not only beautiful in terms of memory, but also beautiful for the eye to behold. He said they need corporate sponsors who want to be a part of the showcasing and artists to come in and donate their time and materials to create murals celebrating the heritage of Santa Paula.
As for corporate sponsors, he said they need assistance with new student organizations that will need support. He added they need donations from nursery or agriculture groups and donations for technology improvements.
Alessi said he tells students, “You are lucky to be here. We are the best of the best. The best teachers, the best students and the best families. This the best middle school in Ventura County.”
Alessi said he did a year of research on what it takes to have an effective school, and all his reading led to the same conclusions, “positive relationships with your teachers, positive relationships with all students of all ability levels and all behavior levels, visibility of the principal, involvement of the principal in the classrooms, out on the yard, at all times. I am blessed to have a wonderful, loving, caring, dedicated and motivated staff - I am the luckiest principal on the face of the earth - and wonderful kids.”
He said when a child does something right the kid needs to be pumped up for it and praised. “I have to do interventions and be firm with kids all day long,” he added. “I’m a serious disciplinarian but I love these kids.”
His philosophy is that when a child does something right he’s there. When a child does something wrong he’s there and, he said, “We’re going to fix it right there, right now.” He expects to have fewer kids in crisis this year than in the past.
He invites the community to see the changes for themselves at Back to School Night on September 27 at 6 p.m. “This not the old Isbell,” he said. “This is the new Isbell of 2012 and 2013. I told the kids, it’s like a slogan of mine, this going to be a year like no other. We’re moving fast and I will not accept anything other than the achievement of the high expectations that I’ve laid out. It’s all going to happen. I will not accept anything else.”