Jefferson earns state PBIS recognition

Jefferson earns state PBIS recognition
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Jefferson Elementary has been recognized as a 2019 Sustained Exemplar PBIS School by the Minnesota Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports state leadership team. Jefferson will be featured on the website and receive a certificate of recognition during the annual Minnesota PBIS institute June 11-12 at the Minnesota Department of Education in Roseville.

The guiding principles of PBIS are that every child can learn proper behavior, stepping in early can prevent more serious behavior problems, each child is different and schools need to provide many kinds of behavior support, how schools teach behavior should be based on research and science, following a child’s behavior progress is important, and schools must gather and use data to make decisions about behavior problems.

Jefferson adopted PBIS three years ago. Yesica Louis continued the approach when she began as principal at the start of the 2017-18 school year and said she has seen a noticeable improvement in student behavior since then.

“The culture and the climate of the school has changed from the day I stepped in to now. It’s like night and day. We have happy staff and happy kids,” she said. “We’re constantly reminding students about which behaviors are positive and which aren’t, praising then when they do good and tracking behaviors to see where we can improve. That’s so important because learning happens when behavior is under control.”

The behavior data Jefferson tracked was part of the basis for their selection by Minnesota PBIS. Louis said office referrals and bus citations are both down drastically this year.

Louis credited the success to some of the practices the school has implemented. They use a restorative practices method for dealing with student issues, which means instead of being sent to the principal’s office, students who make poor choices will work with their teacher and other affected students to resolve conflicts. Students who are upset, frustrated or overstimulated, instead of being pulled out of class, have access to a calming corner in their classroom where they can decompress. Students who exhibit positive behavior are awarded paws, which they can spend on classroom incentives, school store coupons, prize drawings or lunch with a staff member of their choice.

In addition, all staff and students meet for a monthly assembly where they talk about behaviors. The monthly themes (Jaguar pride, skills for learning, empathy, problem solving and emotional management) correspond with the school’s second-step curriculum.

"This award symbolizes our school's hard work and dedication," Louis said. "As Jaguars, we provide respect, act safe, work hard and show responsibility in our school and in the community."

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