Behavior Solution

The Trojan Conference Room becomes increasingly noisy as the nine teachers part of the PBIS team assemble in the room. “I hate buying donuts, with a passion” says English teacher Julie Manders. Each has a story to tell about their early morning starts, some good, some bad, but none have anything to do with the topic at hand, PBIS.

PBIS, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, is the initiative being taken by administration to help create a positive atmosphere at West. On Thursday August 19th, the PBIS team met to add the finishing touches on the plan before unveiling it in full detail to the rest of the school staff. The team consists of Julie Manders, Lori Gerbitz, Christa Botsford, Brenda Bravo-Kapper, Frank Calarco, Paul Thusius, David Keech, Betty Marks, Tom Norstrem, and Lena Patton.

Teachers want students to be respectful, responsible and engaged. Not enough of this has been seen in recent years. According to Lena Patton, a vice-principle at West, the Wauwatosa School District gave schools a choice of whether to use PBIS or not. Administration spoke to colleagues, examined data gathered by Student Council, and ultimately made the decision to implement the program. In September PBIS will focus their efforts on improving respect. Homerooms will take place every Friday where students will discuss respect. Along with asking the student to stop whatever they’re doing, teachers will also tally the number of times they hear or see something disrespectful or irresponsible during passing time to so they can figure out what they should concentrate on in October.

A system for punishing both minor and major offenses has been created. Minor offenses include inappropriate language, touching, dress, and being late for class. Minor offenses will be dealt with by teachers but they will still fill out referral forms which will be sent to the office at the end of the week. Should a student exercise a minor offense three times, he or she will have a major offense and will be given an office referral. Major offenses include fighting, having weapons, and harassment among others.

Good behavior, of course, will be rewarded. Should a teacher see a student admonishing others for using bad language, a Trojan ticket will be given to that student making them eligible to win a prize should their name be chosen in a raffle. Tickets will be drawn at the end of each month to choose winners. Many prizes are available for winners including candy and gift certificates, suggestions for prizes are welcome.

Spanish teacher Mrs. Bravo-Kapper believes PBIS will definitely work and make West a better place. “I know it works, I’ve used this type of discipline before.” She also emphasizes that for the plan to work, all teachers must participate and try their best to enforce the rules. Sophomore Stephanie Eberle has a similar opinion, “I think it has the potential to work, but both teachers and students have to try.”