Recently, and as announced at the recent Board of Education meeting, Walt Disney Elementary of Marceline has received a Gold level certification in their Positive Behavior Support practices. They are one of three individual schools in the Northeast Region to earn this honor (and 37 total in the state), and one of 294 individual schools recognized at any level in the entire state.
As explained by Principal Sarah Dunham, the PBS system shapes the way of life for students and staff at Disney Elementary. “It is a model of building discipline management for school-wide discipline,” said Dunham. “The goal is to provide structure and routines throughout the building, to manage and recognize student behavior in a positive manner.”
The process to this award started years ago. Bronze recognition is earned by having the basics of the program in place. Disney earned bronze certification from 2008-2010. They then earned silver certification in 2011-12, which showed that they had Tier One and Two in place. This year’s gold certification acknowledges that they have all three levels in place.
So what are the tiers that Disney has implemented? “What we started out with was getting Tier One structure in place,” explained Dunham. “If you give students expectations, approximately 90 percent will follow them most of the time. The biggest benefit we have seen is the consistency throughout the building.”
An example of Tier One is that when students walk in the hallways, they stay in All-STARR formation, know the number they are in line, go to their number and wait for their teachers; they stop at stop signs in the hallway and wait for instruction.
“We have numbered zipper lines on the playground,” explained Dunham. “When a teacher blows the whistle, students go to their line. We also have a plan in place if a student has problems in the classroom.”
A Tier Two student is one who may have trouble meeting expectations all of the time. Dunham notes that this is approximately five percent of students. “Students in this tier may need frequent reminders on expectations,” said Dunham. “They may have a clipboard to check in and out on during the day. Or they could be a member of the Breakfast Club with Mrs Taylor. We have several interventions at each level, and these can be both academic and behavioral.”
The final five percent of students fall into Tier Three. These students have real trouble meeting expectations, and they have a scripted plan that follows them throughout their day. “What the program has done is bring special services into general education,” said Dunham. “We want to keep students in the classroom. The Focus Room is used to re-teach expectations, and then let the student return to class.”
Page 2 of 2 - Disney Elementary also started a student support team. When any teacher has a concern with a student they serve, they bring it to Mrs. Dunham, and the team is initiated.
“We meet before school, and a checklist is made,” said Dunham. “All discipline, attendance, and academic information is brought together.”
Dunham continued: “We all talk about the student to see if the concerns are consistent behaviors. We try to narrow our focus and come up with strategies for at least two weeks to see if can indicate if the problem for the student is in performance, academics or behavior. The teacher writes down concerns, we write a plan, and we implement that plan with the student. We may contact the parents, or we may do a Special Education referral. But we are showing that these interventions may improve the student’s situation.”