Sunday, October 7, 2018

Greenville Middle School Helps Students through Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports

by Rhonda Schaar, Greenville Middle School Principal

We have high expectations at Greenville Middle School through Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) to help all students learn.

At Greenville Middle School we have had the benefit of a PBIS team that supports our students’ social emotional learning as well as improving discipline and attendance. “Funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Technical Assistance Center on PBIS supports schools, districts, and states to build systems capacity for implementing a multi-tiered approach to social, emotional and behavioral support. The broad purpose of PBIS is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of schools and other agencies. PBIS improves social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups.”

How do we use this model at GMS? We simply follow the multi-tiered approach to support students and staff. The first tier is based on meeting the needs of 80% of the student population. At tier one we use quarterly incentives, for example, we have a school-wide attendance goal during the first 9 weeks. When we meet the goal, a student volleyball team will play the teachers in an all school assembly. This activity allows us to meet a school-wide goal but is also a climate building event for students and staff. Other school-wide tier one activities include Wave Award immediate student recognition tickets, teaching our school-wide WAVE expectations, grade level incentives such as patio seating opportunities and social emotion lessons through the 7 Mindsets curriculum.

The second tier of focused support at GMS involves the 15% of the students who need more. More support may include check in and check out with an adult or small group interventions with the counselors or administrative staff. The look of tier 2 depends on the need of the student. At this point the Attendance Assistance Team or a meeting with the Response to intervention Team may be needed. Whether it is behavior or attendance concerns our first response is to provide positive assistance.

The 5% of students who need more intensive interventions in response to social emotional needs, attendance concerns or behavior concerns will be individually appraised to determine the best approach to meet his/her needs. A student may be referred to an outside agency such as IDT, Gateway or Wellness and Recovery. These individual students will be given positive support in a variety of ways. We are approaching the varied and intense needs of many of the students by becoming a trauma sensitive school. We are grateful for the recently added K-8 counselor position. Our counseling team of Tiffany Fine and Kailey Guillozet are implementing a comprehensive approach to increase proactive opportunities for students with the assistance of Jamie Neely, who is fulfilling her counseling internship.

Our team approach to PBIS at GMS is making it a priority to “understand the educational impacts of trauma,” and become a “supportive environment where students make the positive connections with adults and peers they might otherwise push away, calm their emotions so they can focus and behave appropriately, and feel confident enough to advance their learning—in other words, …….make trauma sensitivity a regular part of how the school is run”. In using our existing WAVE Expectations we are able to meet all students where they are and make learning accessible by providing positive support in a multi-tiered approach.

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