Jackson school official: New behavior program gets parents involved

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Staff from Jackson's South Elementary School gave a report on the ongoing implementation of a program that promotes good student behavior to the school board during its Tuesday night meeting.

The Positive Behavior Intervention Support Program, which has been adopted by more than 500 Missouri schools, is being used but is still in the planning phases at South Elementary, said Lance McClard, assistant principal. The program started in the district at West Lane Elementary four years ago, where McClard was a fourth-grade teacher. It entails the creation of structured learning environments supported by good behavior that in turn create social and academic success for students.

"It works the same way we're thinking academic-wise, which is 'How can we help this child?'" McClard said. A goal of the program is to find the motivation behind a child's negative behavior and have teachers respond in a way that teaches correct behavior, he said.

According to McClard, a good way to describe the teacher's response to a student's bad behavior is for them to say four positive things for every negative thing said.

Ashley Reinagel, a first-grade teacher at South Elementary, said the program works because it ensures the same behavior is expected in every classroom. She explained teachers' use of "think sheets," which students complete after they are given a second reprimand.

The sheets include a list of behaviors, asks the child their feelings about the behavior, asks the child to tell what happened and what they did and asks what they could do next time to make a better choice. Teachers sit with the students while they complete the sheets, which are sent home for parent review.

"When parents receive the think sheets at home, they will know the teacher took time out that day to teach correct behavior," Reinagel said.

The sheets also allow the teacher and student to talk with the child about how they are feeling about their own behavior, Reinagel said, a step sometimes skipped when trying to correct a problem.

Students at South Elementary are being rewarded for good behavior with "tribal tickets," which each staff member carries with them at all times. Students are rewarded when a teacher sees exceptionally good behavior. The students can use the tickets to buy items in their classroom "store," or gain extra privileges like bringing a special snack to school.

Rachael Bohnert, an early childhood education teacher in the district, said the district's preschools are also using scaled-back elements of PBIS, and that she hopes to learn more about how to use the system in a preschool setting by attending a conference in the spring. If a version of system is implemented for the preschools, she said, children entering kindergarten would be better prepared for the elementary-level system and the district would be one of the first in the area to have the system in use in early childhood education.

McClard said use of the program so far has gone well and he would like to see it implemented districtwide.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

614 E. Adams St., Jackson, MO

1701 S. Hope St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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