Edinboro, PA (July 20, 2018) — James W. Parker Middle School staff will be sculpting the foundation for positive behavior.
This Monday, July 23, staff will pour metal to create a cast bronze shield. The shield will serve as a visual reminder for students that, “You are in charge of your own success,” which is the school’s new Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) slogan.
“The sculpture will serve as a constant reminder for students that each day is a fresh start,” said James W. Parker Middle School Associate Principal Justin Whiftord.
PBIS, a national model to promote positive behavior growth, is something Whitford has wanted to implement building-wide since joining the District in 2017. Together with JWPMS fifth-grade teachers, Whitford began implementing the plan this past December after developing a framework during the fall.
This fall, they will roll out the program for all fifth and sixth grade students.
This new model focuses on shifting students’ mindsets with recognition, rewards and celebrations. Students receive awards based on modeling Parker Pride behavior expectations, a chart of uniform expectations for five different areas. At first, the model allowed students to earn individual or class points,with the incentive varying each week. This fall, the model is being changed slightly and will allow students to earn Parker Pride tickets, with incentives to be more randomly dispersed through the school year.
“It wasn’t that the students were being bad, we didn’t have major discipline issues,” Whitford said. “But fifth grade is such a transition year for students because they have more freedom, and they don’t know what to do with it. Here, we take the time to show them what we expect from Parker fifth graders.”
Teachers are now tracking the average incidents per day and the number of occurrences of minor behavior incidents. Since implanting the system in December, Whitford said that the number of incidents have decreased 25 percent. Typically, behavior is most challenging during the third quarter from January through April. This system reversed that trend, with the least amount of incidents for the year taking place during that time.
PBIS is data driven, as it determines strategies for identifying and teaching expectations for all students, acknowledging appropriate behavior and responding to inappropriate behavior. These components of PBIS assist schools when it comes to being proactive in helping students with their overall success.
Research of the PBIS model indicates that when students are assisted with promoting and obtaining positive behavior, they are also more likely to excel in areas of academic success.
According to Whitford, students’ whole dynamic changed, and they quickly became more aware of their behaviors, as well as their classmates.
“It’s been a really powerful transformation. This system allows us to focus on the positive, to highlight the positive more than the negative,” Whitford said. “This is pivotal because it’s preparing students for a more successful future throughout middle school and high school.”
This transformation, Whitford said, would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the team of teachers.
“This fifth-grade team has been so passionate about it and embraced this model,” he said. “They truly realize the need and were willing to make the necessary changes to make kids successful.”
This fall, fifth and sixth grade students will participate in the PBIS model, which will begin the moment they walk through the lobby to see the new sculpture. Over the following two years, the PBIS model will be implemented for the entire school.
James W. Parker Middle School fifth grade teacher Laurie Santos and art teacher Christina Martin created the design and repurposed 400 pounds of bronze from an older, broken bronze sculpture that previously was in the lobby. Santos and Martin, along with principal Jason Buto and associate principal Justin Whitford, will be in attendance at Edinboro University’s Loveland Hall annex on Monday at 10 a.m. An Edinboro University art professor will be assisting with the project.
To learn more about General McLane School District, visit generalmclane.org.