Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Education

Reinforcement, and rewards, fuel good behavior at Brooksville school

BROOKSVILLE — Sometimes children forget things — pencils, paper, homework, how to behave — and they need reminders. To address those issues, Eastside Elementary School assistant principal Lisa Piesik gathers students every nine weeks for behavior expectations updates.

At the beginning of the year, Piesik spoke with each grade level individually. Now she sees students two grade levels at a time and presents them with data so they can see how they are doing. The most successful are rewarded.

At the most recent meeting of fourth- and fifth-graders, Piesik announced the latest numbers. During the previous nine weeks, kindergartners had 22 disciplines. First grade had 25. Second grade had 35. Third grade tied with first grade. Fourth grade had the lowest number, 19, and fifth-graders had 50.

"I give an ice cream sundae party for the grade level with the lowest disciplines," Piesik said.

When she announced the numbers, the fourth-graders cheered. They had won for the second nine weeks in a row.

Piesik told the students there is no time for misbehaving in class. She directed their attention to the expectations posters on the cafeteria wall. The first focused on having a positive attitude: Be respectful, be ready to learn and do what the teacher says — with a smile.

The next urged students to be active learners: Do homework and class work, study, bring paper, pen and pencils to school.

"We can only do so much for you," Piesik said. "You have to be an active part of that process."

Cooperation was next: Do not argue with your teacher or your classmates. And finally, safety first: Keep your hands to yourself and behave on the bus.

Piesik touched on bullying.

"We have really done an excellent job here," she said. There hadn't been any bullying complaints.

"That tells me you know how to treat each other with respect," she said.

She reminded the students that bullying is anything that makes someone uncomfortable.

The behavior expectations meetings are part of the school's positive behavior support, or PBS, program, headed by art teacher Stephanie Hembd. There are incentives along the way to help students remember what is expected of them as the school tries to improve the failing grade it received from the state last year.

Teachers are equipped with shiny, plastic coins with "I was caught being good" embossed on them. Students collect those for incentives, like supervised physical activity time, free outdoor playtime, computer time or lunch with a teacher.

Fourth-grader Alexis Davis, 10, has been at Eastside since kindergarten and explained the benefits of the program.

"When we were in kindergarten, all you'd get was a 'good job' from your teacher, but now you get PBS points and you can buy stuff," she said.

Alexis and her classmate, Mayra Garcia, 10, mentioned what various teachers allow for certain numbers of coins: chances to sit in a beanbag chair or at the teacher's desk in her rolling chair, or to see Patrick, the music teacher's talking bird.

Fourth-grader Faith Chaika, 9, said she has seen improvements in her classmates.

"I noticed that the kids were getting to be active learners, and before they were just not doing their homework."

Piesik tied good attendance into student success and reminded the children about Mr. Brady's Attendance Challenge.

The school's social worker, Thomas Brady, offers the homeroom with the best attendance each month at each grade level some kind of treat, such as a popcorn or an ice pop party.

"If you're not here," Piesik said, "you can't learn. You have to come to school."

Comments
Weeki Wachee High student arrested after posting fake school shooting threat, sheriff says

Weeki Wachee High student arrested after posting fake school shooting threat, sheriff says

WEEKI WACHEE — A Weeki Wachee High School student was arrested Tuesday after creating a fake social media post threatening a school shooting, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, who said she told them she did it so she could "get out o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Updated: 9 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18