Danedri Thompson
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Principals and school staff are working to lessen behavior issues with a school-wide positive behavior support plan, Christy Ziegler, executive director of educational services, told board members during a meeting on Oct. 22.
Several of the district’s nine school buildings, including Madison Elementary and Wheatridge Middle School, began implementing school-wide behavior plans in 2009.
”Just as not all students come with the same academic needs, not all our students come with the same behavioral needs,” Madison Elementary Principal Christi Whitter told the board. “…If a student can’t read, we’re going to teach them to read… We need to think about behavior differently and giving them some training in behavior.”
The school wide plan allows each school to draft a building specific program. At Gardner Elementary, a leadership team determined the school’s behavioral goals would create a respectful, responsible and fun environment, Pam Tate, Gardner Elementary Principal, said.
The students hear those words – respectful, responsible, and fun – regularly, and staff has created grade level videos that show students how to accomplish all three in different situations. For example, one video demonstrates appropriate behavior for the classroom. Being respectful, Tate explained, requires following direction, treating others as students would like to be treated and using good manners. Another video details what to do and what not to do in the bathroom. As they are grade specific, the younger kids learn simple rules like keeping their feet on the floor.
Under the system, students at Gardner Elementary are rewarded for positive behavior with Leadership Bucks. One benefit to the schoolwide plan is that teachers and staff are communicating clearly with one another and with students.
The system also provides ways to address behavior challenges. Some students, Tate explained, are set up with a check-in/check-out sheet, or CICO. It’s a monitoring system for those students that need additional intervention. In essence, it’s a simple worksheet teachers send home each night detailing where the student was successful behaviorally and where there is room for improvement.
Whitter said the school-wide behavior plan has allowed staff to document behavior challenges and make changes. For example, at one point, she discovered that there were a lot of behavior problems during one specific time of the day at Madison Elementary. The schedule, she explained, was set up in such a way that all 500 students were in the hallway at the same time. A simple schedule adjustment limited behavior issues.
In other business, school board members:
• approved a $4,500 donation to Project Graduation
• approved five final bid awards for things like flooring, lockers and painting at the new middle school set to open in fall 2014.
• recognized Jason Radel, a paraprofessional at WMS; and Mariah Myers, communications teacher at Nike Elementary, as Shining Star Awardees.
• recognized the Gardner Gold Special Olympics junior and senior soccer teams for their efforts at state.