West Yadkin named PBIS model school 2015-2016

By T.K. Garrett - For The Yadkin Ripple

Yadkin County Schools announced West Yadkin Elementary School has been named a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) Model School for the 2015-2016 school year.

This “Green Ribbon” school completed modules I and II of the team training, and implemented PBIS campus-wide. Additionally, other goals were met, and a walk-through audit of the school was accomplished, including interviews with staff and students alike. A banner announcing this accomplishment will be placed inside the main entrance near the end of November. The school also will be recognized in Greensboro this month to celebrate its early success.

PBIS is a statewide program involving all students, faculty, and staff members at a school. Several two-day training sessions are provided throughout each stage of implementation in order to advance the schools through the various training modules. Schools meet regularly to discuss processes and analyze data.

The PBIS program emphasizes positive behaviors in students. The Department of Public Instruction defines PBIS as a way to impact the learning environment in the schools in order to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems.

When a student holds the door, for example, for another student carrying a load of books, the behavior is acknowledged and rewarded. This behavioral support strategy encourages the positive behavior to continue.

In order to qualify as a Model School, West Yadkin Principal Jona Atkins noted, “The West Yadkin staff, students, and parents have worked hard to remain focused on our PBIS goals and to make West Yadkin a safe school to attend where students know how to be respectful and responsible.”

This positive social and emotional program doesn’t begin in kindergarten either, as there is a preschool version of it called SEFEL, which stands for Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. SEFEL teaches these same positive behaviors and helps to transition these young children into PBIS by the time they reach kindergarten.

Kristi Gaddis, director of Student Services for Yadkin County Schools, said, “I have seen firsthand the positive effects of SEFEL and PBIS. Helpful hearts are sent home with the preschoolers acknowledging their helpful behaviors. These hearts help to encourage the parents to continue this reinforcement at home.”

She went on to say how her own preschool child in September of this year received a helpful heart for walking quietly in the hall to both breakfast and lunch. By mid-October, her child received a feelings helpful heart bracelet for using the SEFEL principles to encourage a classmate who was sad.

Statistically speaking, it seems that PBIS is working in a big way. One of the pilot counties for this program reports that suspensions decreased by 66 percent, office referrals for discipline problems by 50 percent, and overall reading scores improved by eight points. To read that article in its entirety, go to http://www.ncpublicschools.org/positivebehavior/data/articles/story2007618.

T.K. Garrett is the EC Data Manager for Yadkin County Schools.

By T.K. Garrett

For The Yadkin Ripple

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