Focusing on student achievement continues to be the trend at Isanti Middle School and Minnesota Center.
During the Cambridge-Isanti School Board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 16, the board heard a presentation from IMS/Minnesota Center Principal Randy Pauly, and Dean of Students John Droubie, on the positive implementations continuing to take place at the school.
“We are continuing to look at improving student achievement,” Principal Pauly said. “What we have done in the past is great, but we still have work to do.”
Principal Pauly described several interventions the school is using that focuses on improving math and reading. He described the “Grade” period throughout the day where students are allowed to check their grades, read, work on homework, improve their academic skills and touch base with teachers.
“This is a time for students to connect with teachers during the day,” Principal Pauly said. “They can work on homework and have teachers to look to for advice.”
Principal Pauly said as well as “Grade” teachers, a number of administrators have five to six students assigned to them.
“Besides the normal six to seven teachers each student has, as well as administrators and their ‘grade’ teacher, the student is receiving several opportunities to connect with teachers and for teachers to connect with students,” Principal Pauly said. “This allows the student to have another voice talking about reinforcing work and improving academically.”
Principal Pauly also mentioned Encore, Target Services and Parent Connection services gives students an opportunity to work on assignments and for parents to stay in touch with how their child is doing.
“We are focusing on improving academic support and student achievement,” Principal Pauly said. “If the students know the teachers care about them, the students will care about their teachers.”
Droubie, as well as a couple of students, touched on some of the positive behavior initiatives that are taking place in the school.
One student described a recent food shelf drive that resulted in over 1,300 items collected. Another student talked about his involvement with doing video and editing for the Bluejacket News Network.
Droubie mentioned a team of 10 will undergo training to look at how to promote positive behavior and bring vision and clarity to positive behaviors. He mentioned the school received a grant to pay for the training.
He said some of the initiatives with promoting positive behavior includes:
• Teaching and rewarding expected behavior.
• Providing a system for dealing with negative behavior.
• Keeping students in the classroom and focused on instruction time.
• Focus on the Bluejacket way and the Character Traits.
• Teachers teaching expected behaviors.
• Weekly social skill lessons during Grade.
• Using the Bluejacket News Network.
• Teaching in student services.
Droubie mentioned when students are rewarded with good behavior, they can receive an extra ticket for weekly prize drawings. He said bus drivers are also giving out tickets to students who “Ride with Pride,” who are also entered into contests for prize drawings.
Droubie mentioned the positive behavioral team meets twice a week to target key behaviors to improve, brainstorm ideas and discuss implementation of ideas.
He also cited data that showed how the positive behavior initiatives are decreasing the number of students being sent out of the classroom due to behavioral issues.
Droubie pointed out in the spring of 2011 there were 460 student send-outs; spring of 2012, 344 send-outs; and since the fall of 2012 (six weeks) there have been 75 send-outs.