By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Friday, March 2, 2018

Success Story: Darden Middle School

We noticed in the Behavior Manager statistics that Darden Middle School has seen significant improvement in office referrals over the past two years. I asked Assistant Principal Edwina Lucas about that.

Edclick: We saw your office referrals were down 33% from 2016 and 54% from 2015. Are doing something new to see such dramatic improvements?

Edwina Lucas: Yes, we’re doing a number of things. We’re doing PBIS, teaching expectations monthly, celebrating positive behavior. Also, some of the staff members we lost had high referrals. It’s a conglomeration of different things.

There is a typical signature in office referrals when a teacher needs to improve classroom management skills. The combination of disrespect, disruptive behavior and insubordination suggests disorder. When a new teacher experiences this in his classroom he may think that he's just not cut out to be a teacher. But it's simpler than that. There are a collection of classroom management skills that the best teachers master. To the uninitiated, it almost seems like a magical power. But it's not. It's a set of skills that can be learned and practiced. Darden Middle School addressed it with teaching coaches.

Edclick: It seems that the misbehaviors that were reduced the most were in the areas of disrespect, disruptive behavior, inappropriate language and insubordination. We ordinarily see improvements in those areas when there’s an improvement in classroom management skills. Are you doing anything specifically to improve classroom management skills?

Edwina Lucas: We have been doing classroom management sessions. We have two coaches. One works mostly with new teachers and the other works with teachers across the board. There’s a lot more support in that area this year that we didn’t have last year.

One of the foundational ideas of PBIS is to make evidence-based decisions. The data collection and reporting capabilities make it possible to see what's going on in the school and to see the effects of interventions. One of the things that differentiates the most successful schools from the rest is that they make the effort to learn what the data is telling them.

Edclick: Are there any other ways that Behavior Manager could be more useful for you?

Edwina Lucas: It’s doing everything we need it to do. We study the reports regularly to tell us where the hotspots are. We look at kids who don’t have referrals. Kids that have high referrals. We do extra work with the students who are high flyers. We have a lot of things going on that are positive.

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Keywords: success story, Behavior Manager, PBIS

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