In early June of 2018, over 250 educators and Regional Service Providers from across the Lower Hudson region gathered for a conference to celebrate school’s student outcomes and identify the practices and systems used to achieve them.
This summer, Region 10 (NYC) launched their second 4410 Cohort! Eight 4410 preschools were trained in the program-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model Preschool Framework.
In June, Region 10 hosted the first Preschool Internal Coaches Institute for Cohort I. During this time the internal coaches had an opportunity to learn new content to support their work within their programs as well as network with other internal coaches from other programs.
Niagara-Wheatfield’s Errick Road Elementary School began the 2017-18 school year by implementing a new school-wide framework for developing positive behavior called PBIS. PBIS stands for positive behavior interventions and support. PBIS is a statewide-recognized system geared toward teaching students proper behavior, and then rewards students and classes that demonstrate those desired behaviors.
Principal Nora O’Bryan and her PBIS team worked on three to five behavioral expectations that would be easy for students to remember, which are: we are safe, we are respectful and we are responsible. A matrix was created of what each of the expectations would look like, sound like and feel like in the school wide areas.
To get the students more engaged they made the theme of their initiative a Star Wars one and called it May the Falcon Force Be With You – the falcon being the district’s mascot. The school year started off with a kickoff assembly. The assembly was used to promote the new PBIS framework and explain to students how they could earn Falcon cash and golden tickets by showing positive behaviors throughout the school. Teachers dressed up as Star Wars characters and O’Bryan introduced them by explaining how the characters showed the preferred behaviors expected at Errick Road.
The school’s approach is to reward students for demonstrating positive behaviors. Falcon cash is given to students when they show positive behaviors and golden tickets are given to the classroom when the entire class works together to show positive behaviors. Students and classrooms can cash in their tickets to purchase items at the school store known as the Galaxy Market. Golden tickets are cashed in to purchase classroom activities (disco party, pizza party, Lego party, extra P.E. etc.)
Also, every month, one student was chosen from every grade level that displays exemplary character and the Falcon Force expectations. The students are called Fabulous Falcons. A picture is taken and a brief description is written up about why they were chosen and displayed in the front foyer of the school. They are honored at monthly assemblies and given a falcon pendant. School staff also send postcards home to students for positive behaviors throughout the school year.
Teacher Anthony Vekich said, “Overall, the PBIS framework has made an impact on the Errick Road community this past school year. We are using common language, and children know the expectations in each area of their school environment. The assemblies, special recognition awards, school store shopping experiences and golden ticket parties have added so much positivity towards working and learning every day. We as educators feel PBIS is an opportunity to continue to foster kids’ intrinsic motivation, while also allowing them some fun and extrinsic rewards along the way. At Errick Road we teach children positive expected behaviors and how to feel good about doing the ‘right’ thing.”
The staff sent a special thank you to O’Bryan and the B.E.N. parent group for supporting and funding PBIS. Thanks to them, the school was able to purchase school store items, and other incentives for the children of Errick Road. Without the actively involved parents, PBIS would not be as successful as it’s been!
Region 10 has selected ten 4410 programs to be part of the first Pyramid Model Program-Wide Implementation Cohort. Special Education Preschools Directors across the five boroughs attended an administrative overview and then selected members to represent their program. The selected participants were trained on modules 1-3 and then on the Positive Solutions for Families content. In these photos, you can see how excited participants were during Module 2 training when they got to make their very own Tucker the Turtle.
The past several years have been busy times for the innovative forward thinking minds at John Adams H.S. in Queens NY
Recognizing the need for students to learn the intricacies of how their minds work in action, John Adams leaders such as Dr. Scott Silverman Assistant Principal, Amrr Alamarie Director of STEM Academy, Scott Tierney Director of Future Leaders Institute, Mike George Biofeedback Instructor, Tarek Alamarie Assistant Principal and John Mazzocchi PBIS Coordinator have developed a Neuroscience track in their STEM program.
Students are taught in Neuroscience classes that adolescent brains are different from adult brains:
When they make decisions or solve problems their actions are guided more by the emotional and reactive amygdala and less by the thoughtful, logical frontal cortex.
Also that research has also shown that exposure to drugs and alcohol during the teen years can change or delay these developments.
Students are taught that based on the stage of their brain development, they are more likely to:
act on impulse
misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
get into accidents of all kinds
get involved in fights
engage in dangerous or risky behavior
and less likely to:
think before they act
pause to consider the consequences of their actions
change their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors
Once students understand these concepts they are given a variety of tools to help train their brains to become less reactive and more reflective. These tools include: Meditation, Biofeedback and Virtual Reality.
Using the PBIS system, Assistant Principal, Scott Silverman, Ed.D initiated a mindfulness program for students deemed in need of proactive positive behavioral support. Seven meditation classes meet daily for a full period in the school’s ‘meditation room’ with an instructor.
The program combines daily short periods of mindfulness practice and the study of the latest scientific pedagogy behind it. Building on the principles of ‘neuroplasticity,’ – the brain’s amazing ability to change and develop new neural pathways and synapses through new experience — students study the brain and how contemplative neuroscience confirms what meditators have reported for thousands of years.
Biofeedback – Students have the opportunity to take a biofeedback course and practice self-regulation taught by biofeedback trained instructor Michael George.
Brief Description of Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a painless, non-invasive technique for learning control of the processes of the mind and body.
Instruments are used that give precise, immediate and meaningful auditory and/or visual feedback of the child’s physiology.
Biofeedback is used to increase relaxation, relieve pain and the effects of stress.
Biofeedback is also used to train awareness and mindfulness for the promotion of healthier and more comfortable life patterns.
Each session can be fun, challenging and helpful.
Biofeedback supports our emotional self-regulation: we can visually track what is going on inside us and train ourselves to manage our emotional state.
1.The American Psychological Association (APA) considers biofeedback or neurofeedback for ADHD to be “Probably Efficacious,” the third category in a scale of 1 to 5.
Effects of Biofeedback
Combining both brainwave (neurofeedback) and body measures, a young boy of 12 learned to effectively focus and concentrate better. The biofeedback techniques also helped him to fall asleep more easily at night. The quality of his school work improved dramatically. Many gains were noticed after six sessions but further gains continued through twenty sessions.
VR is a powerful behavioral and neural remapping tool, with the ability to show a new perspective and collect unique and insightful user data on student response. The use of VR in the classroom will be to put students in a situational moment that will affect their biorhythm and guide the students to self regulate their reactions and control their heart rate. This program will help students identify and cope with complex diversity opportunities, such as ethnic, ability, cognitive and experiential diversity.
Through the use of VR students will be put in real life situations that will affect their biorhythm and guide them to regulate their reaction and control their heart rate. This will help the students better understand how to properly cope when put in situations that cause anxiety or conflict, by recognizing their response to these situations. Through this program students will also learn how to create VR scenarios and videos to be used throughout the school community that portray relevant social emotional experiences. Through the implementation of this program the desired outcomes will be for students to walk away with a working understanding on how utilizing and developing socially reflective VR scenarios and content can positively impact their future decision making skills through the use of experiential practices and learning. Through reflection students will be able to better understand their own response when utilizing VR to simulate everyday situations that may require a quick appropriate response when facing obstacles and/or conflict within their diverse communities.
In Summary, John Adams High School is quickly becoming the Neuroscience and emotional regulation guru for the NYCDOE.
If you are interested in learning more about John Adams High Schools innovative practices or scheduling a tour, please contact:
The Watertown City School District held it’s first ever District Wide PBIS kickoff this year. The district consists of 8 buildings, 5 elementary buildings, an intermediate building, a middle school and a high school. The kick off involved students’ kindergarten through twelfth grade. Elementary classes were pared up with upper grade levels. All Students made pinwheels together displaying the words, Respectful, Responsible and Safe.
Students were taught lessons on each of the characteristics and then played games to get to know one another in the group. The two classes that were paired together will now become pen pals throughout the year and adopt a senior who they will do nice things for throughout the school year.
Once the pinwheels were made all 3500 students in the district walked to the main field and planted the pinwheels to be seen by the community. After planting their pin wheel all staff and students had a picnic lunch together. This day was all about building community. It was a huge success as each of the buildings created friendships and bonds throughout the district.
Brockport Central School District PBIS Team presents at APBS International Conference on Positive Behavior Support!
In March, members of the Brockport Central School District PBIS team presented during a poster session at the APBS International Conference on Positive Behavior Support in Denver, CO. In a room filled with research and theory, they were one of only two school districts to be accepted for a poster session, which was very well attended with many compliments from participants. The team highlighted an innovative approach to foster academic and behavioral growth through an aligned K-12 PBIS Instructional Settings matrix. In an effort to strengthen tier 1 practices, the district team created this matrix to use within all classrooms with common language for grades K-5 and 6-12. This practice necessitates teachers provide instruction on the expectations in the matrix as they relate to their specific routines and procedures. The implementation of this practice allowed them to streamline behavioral data collection, begin merging academic and social-emotional learning, and increase staff ownership of teaching, modeling, and reinforcing behavioral expectations in all settings.
Under the guidance of building principal Rosie Sifuentes-Rosado, PS/MS 194, a K-8 school in District 11 in NYC, is celebrating its sixth year of PBIS implementation. Assistant Principal Christina VanZetta serves as the building’s internal coach and has been the driving force around sustaining the positive atmosphere of PBIS. PS/MS 194 has created GREAT (Goals, Respect, Excellence, Attitude, Team Player) expectations for their school!
Supported by Arthur Tobia of the RSE-TASC, PS/MS 194 has maintained a consistent level of fidelity on the Benchmarks of Quality (BoQ) over their years of implementation. Arthur attributes their success of implementation to the staff/teams commitment to support behavior school-wide and VanZetta’s dedication as the coach.
Both the Tier 1 and 2/3 teams consistently meet on a weekly basis to monitor behavior data that drives their work in supporting students. Utilizing Tier 1 practices for all as well as CICO for students in need of Tier 2 supports has laid the foundation for the work they have begun with Tier 3 students. Always looking to improve their implementation, to meet the needs of all students, this year they produced matrices in multiple languages to address diverse population of learners embedded in their community. They also provide frequent booster sessions to staff to keep staff focused and current in their PBIS practices.
At this point PBIS icon “Tommy the Tiger” is well branded throughout the school. His greeting on the school sign outside the building lets you know immediately you are entering a PBIS school. Once inside there is strong physical vibrant presence of PBIS. “Tommy the Tiger” jumps off the walls on posters and bulletin boards throughout the building. He can also be found on school water bottles, as well as gift cards from Dunkin Donuts. He is even on their gymnasium floor. For the staff he is also on school memos and in PowerPoint presentations.
Students work to earn both individual and whole-class acknowledgements to gain entrance into the school store. In addition PS/MS 194 has a variety of events bringing in entertainment such as magician “Gary the Great” and the “Harlem Magic Masters” Basketball program. Ice cream parties and a variety of other fun events punctuate their years of practice as a part of their acknowledgement plan. The staff even did their own “Flash Mob” for the kids!
Congratulations to the Principal Sifuentes–Rosado as well as her PBIS Teams, students, and staff of PS/MS 194 for six “GREAT” years of being dedicated to creating a positive and collaborative place to learn!