Houston County is implementing a new program that emphasizes school culture and climate. The district’s first group of schools is being trained in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
The first group of schools is Lindsey Elementary, Kings Chapel Elementary, Pearl Stephens Elementary, Watson Primary, Hilltop Elementary, Mossy Creek Middle, Feagin Mill Middle, Crossroads Center, Perry High and Warner Robins High, according to the students services report presented for Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
School PBIS leadership teams completed their first training Sept. 15, and additional sessions are planned for Oct. 25 and November, said Jody Dean, the district’s PBIS coordinator. The goal is for the teams to start rolling elements of the program into their schools in January.
PBIS focuses on changing the culture and climate of schools and rewarding students for good behavior. After a year of preparation in 2016-17, this is the first year for PBIS implementation. All of the district’s schools will be using the program by the 2021-2021 year, said Zabrina Cannady, assistant superintendent for student services.
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“The schools are really buying into it and recognizing that it’s what’s right for kids,” Cannady said. “It’s about the relationships. It’s really a mindset shift.”
The district is also incorporating fresh, local produce into its schools. The nutrition department is working with local farmers such as Perdue Blackberry Farms and area produce distributors to offer a few Georgia-grown products at each school daily, said Meredith Potter, director of school nutrition.
“Locally Grown” stickers identify which fruits and vegetables on the lunch lines are from Georgia.
“We’re working to add new products every month, especially as the seasons change,” she said.
A smart panel — that allows students to work interactively with lessons and more — should be installed in the media center of every Houston school by December, said Cindy Flesher, deputy superintendent for administrative services. As a pilot study, the devices have already been added to every classroom at Pearl Stephens Elementary. Feedback from media specialists and teachers will be considered before panels are added to classrooms at other schools.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, members approved the $119,184 purchase of two 14-passenger buses. They also recognized employees who have worked for the district for 30, 35 and 50 years. Robert Haynes, a Veterans High employee, has dedicated 50 years to the school system.