By Zion 6
Zion, IL. – Within Zion Elementary School District 6, schools utilize programs such as CHAMPS, PBIS, and RRSK to help increase positive behaviors and teach students how to best function within a school and other life settings. At Beulah Park, teachers have taken these programs to a higher level in order to create a deeper understanding and build a better relationship between staff members and students. Principal Curtiss Tolefree stated their focus at the beginning of the school year was “to make sure that we teach school-wide expectations. We can’t assume that students know our school expectations.” All staff members were trained on what it means to be at “Voice Level: Zero” in the hallways/classrooms, and were then shown how to best teach their students the same message. This process has proven to be helpful in many different ways, especially considering the open concept for classrooms.
For the students of Amanda Kennebeck’s classroom, this new procedure has been crucial and beyond helpful for their academics. Amanda’s classroom is part of the self-contained program EPICS which focuses on students with Autism. Her students are in need of a consistent area that supports their sensory needs, as well as consistent and repetitive learning. When her students are in the hallway, other staff members can now interact with them in a way that is understood on both sides.
“Voice Level: Zero” is not the only process that has led to an increase of positive behaviors. Administrators have aided in the creation of TAB (Take A Break) Rooms and Pride Paws. TAB Rooms are used for students whose “bodies are not ready for learning.” Students who are in need of a TAB Room are allowed to enter another classroom, in the specified section, and take time to calm down. This method gives students the opportunity to take control of their emotions, while allowing fellow classmates to learn in a controlled environment. Pride Paws was created as a reward for those students who show positive behavior, as it is modeled in the PBIS and RRSK programs used in the district. Students are given Pride Paws by their teacher for showing positive behavior and can choose to put their Pride Paws in a bin for the chance to win a prize.
By giving students the tools they need to create a conducive learning environment for all, Beulah Park has seen a tremendous increase in positive behavior from last year. During the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year, there were 91 referrals. This year, there were only 11 referrals during the first quarter. As positive behavior and teacher/student relationships increase, Beulah Park is on its way to a successful year.