For the students and staff at the La Monte R-4 School District, the year has gotten off to a positive start. Or rather, they have gotten off to a positive continuation of the hard work and efforts they put into place each and every day last year.
For its accomplishments, the district was recently awarded a Silver Medal of Distinction for the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program.
La Monte was one of only three schools in the Central Region chosen for the award.
According to a release, “PBIS is evidence-based, data-driven framework that reduces disciplinary incidents and increases a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes.”
“We were simply thrilled when we were given the news,” Miranda White, instructional coach at La Monte, said. “It really has improved the entire climate in our district.”
La Monte has been a part of the program for the last seven years but last year decided to apply for one of three levels of awards the program grants.
“In the beginning it seemed that it was something that we did work really hard for,” White said. “Now it has just become a part of all we do here.
“The teachers, staff and students have all bought into it,” she added. “We explicitly teach the behaviors we want our students to learn and practice.”
The PBIS program is based on a four to one ratio. The concept is rather simple: four positive comments are given to offset one negative comment that may be said.
“Honestly, kids don’t want to hear the negative all the time, or any time for that matter,” White said. “Neither do adults for that matter.
“By focusing on the positive it just makes everyone feel better at the end of the day,” she added. “We really have found that this approach has helped us academically because it gives our teachers more time to teach.”
La Monte Elementary Principal Melissa Snell whole-heartedly agrees with White’s assessment and the program.
“Since we are always focused on positive behaviors with the students, we have found that it has is hard not to rub off on the adults as well,” Snell said. “I give shout-outs to my staff and we give thanks to each other every week in our Viking View.”
The Viking View is a newsletter Snell distributes to her staff each week.
“We also have created themed days to help get the students excited about their positive behaviors,” White added. “We have a universal theme but the teachers have taken to individualize the theme.”
Each day of the week focuses on a different idea. Monday is Music Monday where the students listen to music while they are in the gym prior to going to their individual classes. On Tuesdays, the student may bring a technological device or toy for Tech and Toy Tuesday.
Wednesday mornings the students walk laps in the gym with Walk it Out Wednesdays. Thursday is Tunnel Day when the students walk to their classrooms through a teacher-made tunnel. The teachers stand on opposite sides of the hallway holding hands above their heads. The students pass under the tunnel.
Fridays the students may sit where they want during the morning gym assembly time.
“I kinda liked it, that tunnel thing,” kindergartner Steven Ivy said. “It’s really big and it’s really fun and it makes me feel happy when I go through it,”
“That is why this works,” White said. “We all encourage each other and we all model the behavior we expect for and from one another.
“We are going to continue the program in the future,” White added. “This year we are going for the gold.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484