LACONIA — The Laconia School Board learned Tuesday night that a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program being implemented at Laconia High School and Laconia Middle School is starting to produce good results.
Described as an evidence-based, data-driven is in place in more than 19,000 schools across the country.
Dave Bartlett, assistant principal at Laconia High School, said PBIS is ''starting to change behavior at the school'' by reducing the number of discipline incidents and Jim Corkum, assistant principal at the Middle School, said the program is helping the school create a consistent framework in handling discipline issues.
Corkum said that PBIS provides a three-tiered, school-wide discipline system and that the team of teachers working on the universal tier level are having monthly meetings with consultant Kathy Francouer of Somersworth, who is helping them develop a program which stresses targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve the school climate for all students.
The universal tier covers about 80 percent of students who have few discipline issues. A second tier, estimated at 15 percent of students, are targeted in small groups, while the third tier, about 5 percent of students, require highly individualized programs according to Corkum.
He said that the premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior, will reduce discipline incidents and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning.
Bartlett said that the high school utilizes a variety of approaches, including a student support room and an academic study team, which enables students falling behind in subjects to get assistance geared toward their needs, a child study team which meets every week and structured referral process when it comes to disciplinary problems.
He said that currently eight to 10 students who are having difficulty in Algebra I are working with an academic study team and have the option of continuing to work with that team or, once they have made sufficient progress, going back to their original class.
The high school also has a mental health counselor who can work with students who have many disciplinary referrals and also meet with their parents, if necessary, said Bartlett.
Board member Mike Persson asked about parental contact and was told by Bartlett that parents are contacted if a discipline issue results in a consequence for a student. Persson said that in many cases a student's behavior reflects their home life and that social services may have to become involved.
Bartlett said that it is standard procedure for a teacher who has disciplined a student to call the parent at home to explain the incident.
The School District is looking to expand the program to the city's three elementary schools in the future and is currently advertising for a coordinator's position for that part of the program, which will be implemented over the next five years.
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