The Block Island Times

PBIS launched at island school

By Gloria S. Redlich | May 07, 2012


This week marked the implementation of a new program, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), at the Block Island School. Developed under the auspices of the United States Department of Education, PBIS has been described as “a framework [by which] to improve behavioral and academic outcomes, by acknowledging positive behavior, for all students.”
A team consisting of parents and school staff has been busy throughout the school year “developing school-wide expectations: be respectful, be responsible and be positive.” At the same time the program is meant to create a system by which students may be recognized and rewarded for their behavior.
Conceived as a “pilot roll-out,” the initial concentration was on a “universal expectation: be positive!” The goal of the pilot is to “collect data and work on” the best way to develop PBIS for the island school. “Every adult in the school community will participate.”
The way it works out is that students “will be recognized for being positive” by demonstrating the following behaviors: acknowledging or greeting others; setting good examples; using good manners; encouraging classmates and being kind and friendly.
A poem in every pocket
With April designated “National Poetry Month,” the island school participated on April 26 with everyone—students, faculty and staff—carrying a poem in their pockets to share with others. Principal Karen Kurzman carried her favorite e.e. cummings poem “maggie and mollie and millie and may” and visited every class to read it. Kurzman said, “Even kindergarten students wrote one to carry and other students chose ones they liked.”
Poetry workshop
In another poetry project, high school English teacher Nancy Greenaway worked with the middle grade students in a workshop in which the students wrote poetry. Greenaway said it was a collaborative effort with fifth, sixth and seventh grade teachers Bonnie Swienton, Marlee Lacoste and Shannon Cotter Marsella.
The group was joined by high school English teacher Maureen Flaherty and Spanish teacher Josh Weiss-Smith, who sang to help Greenaway illustrate rhythm and rhyme.
Students’ poetry included in poetry anthology
Kurzman announced that five students—Fiona Crawford, Noah Gasner, Jaixen Hall, Andre Miller and Delaney Schwartzer—were selected to have their poems published in the Rhode Island State Council of the International Reading Association’s 15th Poetry Anthology.” At their ceremony on April 27, Delaney read her poem.

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