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Back to School full of changes

Students question PBIS, administration calls for collaboration

Abigail Swanigan, Staff Writer

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Led by Kyle, custodian, on the zamboni, the admistrative team rides into the first pep assembly of the year on scooters. Student Council hosts the assemblies and hopes to step up the atmosphere for the 2017-18 school year.

The new school year started with many changes from a new style of pep assembly to expectation matrixes around the building. A focus among them is the PBIS system meant to improve school culture.

“What I wanted for the students was that we were all clear on the expectations, that we were more proactive than reactive,” Platt said. “I think last year it wasn’t very clear, so kids were dealing with a lot of consequences when we just needed some basic guidelines and boundaries. We can teach you all the expectations in one day, like the first day of school, that way we can start providing you more freedoms because we have taught you those expectations.”

PBIS is the abbreviation for Positive Behavioral Interactions and Supports. The system encourages proactive strategies for defining, teaching and supporting positive behaviors.

“Having a structure in place, of any kind, is always good,” said Rita Allegree, history teacher. “I think the students, staff and parents are all pretty much on the same page, and it is consistent.”

The system was initially set to include “tribe tickets” that students receive from a teacher or administrator when they show positive behavior. The tickets were planned to be redeemable for rewards when the student reaches a certain amount. But, after only two full weeks of school, students have shown a dislike of the system.

“I think a lot of the students are only focusing on the negatives,” said Monica Leary, assistant principal. “Ninety percent of us do the right thing already so we will have the opportunity to gain more freedoms in our environment.”

The first day of school the students went over expectations such as how to behave in the bathroom and how they should act in the halls with skits performed by teachers and role playing from peers.

“I feel like the system is good for students who cause trouble,” said Nick Miller, sophomore. “I do not think we should have the tribe tickets because it makes me feel like I am in the elementary again.”

In addition to talking about the issues, students have stepped up. The Tribe Times published an editorial stating that the PBIS system is flawed.

“I feel like it needs to be modified more if it is going to work,” said Cam Lethcoe, senior. “ I don’t think any of my peers support the new system, and I would try to make it more adaptable to the way teachers already do things.”

Because of feedback from students ranging from freshman to senior, Platt and the administration, as well as the PBIS Committee, are reworking the program.

“I think that PBIS will be a great thing for our students and our learning environment as a whole, once everyone understands what it really is,” Leary said.

The administration team and the PBIS Committee are working to figure out the new roads they will take. First steps in the process will come from a Principal Advisory Committee. This group will consist of students who are willing to share the ideas of more than just school leaders. Anyone can join this committee. If interested, please email Dr. Platt at [email protected]

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