Westmer PBIS recognized by board

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Westmer Elementary teachers Traci Sackville and Elene Waters explain how students earn tickets and redeem them for prizes in the school's PBIS program.

Staff members at Westmer Elementary School gave a presentation of the school's PBIS program at the Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 school board meeting. Lori Crose, talked about how the Positive Behavior in School program works. She said that school employees work as a team to identify and give rewards to students for positive behavior. Positive behavior is noticed in the classroom, hallways, lunchroom and outside during recess. Students learn about proper behavior and do role playing to practice it.

"It's a long term program. Aledo has done the same program for some time," she added. There are three Rs students learn: Respect yourself, respect others and respect property. Teachers and other staff give students tickets that can be redeemed at the end of the month.

Christine Armentrout, certified teacher, said that each member of the staff works with the students and nominations are made of students who display good behavior. The nominations are counted at the end of the month and the class with the most nominations receives a reward. "Sometimes with an extra recess, or a picture in the newspaper," she said.

"We encourage everyone to honor those three "Rs," she said.

Traci Sackville and Elene Waters showed the board the tickets students receive and prizes they can choose.

"My kids have won three months in a row," said Waters.

A cart goes around to the classes two times a month for students to choose prizes.

"Each child should have at least three (tickets) a day,: said Sackville.

Another part of the program uses "Cool Tools" to teach lessons. "The kids like that," said Sackville. Cool Tool lessons are provided by the PBIS team every week. The lessons explain why a skill is important.

 "Our building is very respectful and very quiet," added Trudy Shepard.

The students held a celebration that day, Hamstead - Prince Casbian, was a whole school assembly as a reward for good behavior. Another example of all school rewards was a beach party that was held at the beginning of the school year.

Referrals to the office are part of the program as well. Elementary principal Nancy Robinson told the board that referrals, both minor and major, have been improving. In 2006-1007 there were around 660 referrals; in 2007-2008 there were 530. So far in 2008-2009, there have been 102 referrals. "Right before Christmas is usually a peak time," said Robinson. "We are a PBIS star school," said Robinson. She explained that the state of Illinois recognized their school for its PBIS program.

The PBIS program also tracks data with a software program to keep track of the time of day and type of behavior being seen.

She said that the district did "three weeks of Cool Tools on Bus behavior at the start of the year.

"It doesn't cure everything," she added. "We've got some chronic behaviors we're trying to work on."

The PBIS program is partly funded from the student activity funds. Robinson said that professional development is also a big cost. "The state is really encouraging it highly," Robinson said.

Robinson also told the board that parent-teacher conferences had a 95 percent rate for contact with parents. "It went very well."

Westmer Secondary principal Robert Reed said the parent-teacher conference held at the secondary was pretty well attended. "The same day they held a blood drive," he said.

He pointed to one school assembly, an honor roll assembly, where nearly everybody who had made it to the principal, high and honor rolls came up front. "I had just about everybody up in front," said Reed.

Perfect attendance was also celebrated during the first quarter. "There were three high school girls honored for tutoring. They spend a lot of time going to the junior high."

Reed pointed out that the secondary school was going to begin PBIS too. "We're going to implement it in the second semester."

In other business the board:

•Approved a Library Media Selection policy.

•Approved a motion to transfer $10,713.91 from working cash to the bond and interest fund to make a bond payment due Dec. 1, 2008.

•Approved the Illinois School District Library grant application.

•Learned the district had received a $250 Wal-Mart gift card from Hon employees to be used by the school for something other than regular school supplies. The district will use some of the money to replace some ruined fabric lost during the flooding.

•Agreed to renew the lease on 1.33 acres next to the high school to be used as a football practice field.

ªApproved an amended motion, previously approved on June 10, 2008, that changed the amount requested to fund the cheerleading program, from $3,500 to $3,000.