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NHHS assistant principal resigns


June 24, 2009
North Harrison High School's assistant principal resigned unexpectedly earlier this month after questions arose about the handling of the school's character education program.

The school board accepted Doug Dodge's resignation, 5-0, without comment during its June 11 meeting at Morgan Elementary School.

Dodge, who was hired at his alma mater in 2002, opted not to talk on the record about his resignation because he didn't want to breech any confidentiality.

Dodge, who started the character education program three years ago, modeled it from a similar program in another state.

North Harrison's students were introduced to the program on the first day of school during the 2006-07 school year. The program, which talks about choices, was designed to reduce school tardies, improve school attendance, reduce the number of failures, reduce the number of discipline referrals and increase the school's ISTEP passing percentage.

Throughout the school year, students earn tickets that go into a prize drawing, named Focus Friday, which includes a grand prize of a Ford Focus car donated by Heritage Ford in Corydon. Teachers also are eligible for prizes and receive reminders of the program during the school year, such as homemade cookies.

Dodge has said, following each of three Ford Focus events, that the program has been successful.

Randy Barrett, interim superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp., agreed in an interview June 16 that the character education program, as well as the Harrison County Alternative Education Center, of which Dodge is the board president, has been successful.

Dodge made some contributions to the school system and was "greatly involved" during his employment, Barrett said, declining to comment further.

Prior to being hired at NHHS, Dodge was employed as assistant principal at Mitchell High School for two years.

"I just got fought on every street corner I went down," Dodge said, adding that all he had been doing was promoting character education.

"I'm crushed," he said of what's happened. "I have put my heart and soul into the school."

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