Sunday, November 9, 2003

School accentuates the positive

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Danny Berghoff, 11, gets a hug from teacher Tracy Coleman at the E.H. Greene Intermediate School in Blue Ash.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
BLUE ASH - Dignity and respect go a long way at Edwin H. Greene Intermediate School.

A discipline program centered on these virtues has resulted in fewer students sent to principal Phil Hackett's office.

"The whole idea was to make the climate more positive - to help steer kids who do things wrong into the right direction," Hackett said.

And that it has.

"Better All Together: Discipline With Dignity and Respect," a program implemented at Greene in 1995, requires students who "overstep their boundaries" to write an essay answering four questions:

• What did I do wrong?

• Why is that wrong?

• What should I do instead?

• What good things could happen to me if I do it this way?

Integrity Team posters are scattered throughout Edwin H. Greene Intermediate School in Blue Ash:
"I" stands for Intelligence: Use your INTELLIGENCE to make sure you do the right thing.
"N" stands for Nice: Be NICE to others, expecting nothing in return.
"T" stands for Truth: Tell the TRUTH, even when it is hard to do.
"E" stands for Empathy: Show EMPATHY toward others by putting yourself in their shoes before you act.
"G" stands for Gracious: Be GRACIOUS when someone needs your assistance.
"R" stands for Responsible: Be RESPONSIBLE for yourself and your environment.
"I" stands for Involvement: Limit your INVOLVEMENT to those people who make good choices.
"T" stands for Tolerance: Show TOLERANCE for people who are different than yourself.
"Y" stands for You: Be the best YOU that you can be!
The program won an Ohio Best Practices Award from the Ohio Department of Education in 1999.

A year later, it spawned another award-winning program, "No Bullies Allowed."

This year, for the first time, it is the basis of a program aimed at building integrity in students by rewarding those who consistently make good choices.

With all three programs in place, this Sycamore school of about 850 students is seeing 35 to 40 office referrals a year, compared with more than 350 in 1995, assistant principal Karen Naber said.

The results of the new program - "The Integrity Team" - are particularly noticeable at lunch, recess and on the bus, according to school staff. Each day, two employee "spotters" recognize students for displaying positive behavior, such as kindness, empathy, responsibility and tolerance.

When the program was launched, students performed skits for two weeks highlighting good and bad behavior. Teachers followed with brief classroom discussion.

Last week, the 60 or so Integrity Team members were recognized at a lunch-time assembly and treated to lunch.

Danny Berghoff, 11, a fifth-grader from Symmes Township, was one of the latest to be recognized. Language and math teacher Tracy Coleman "spotted" Danny on Monday for "going out of his way, every day, to stop and say good-bye to me when he leaves class."

Danny was in another teacher's class when Coleman walked in and made the announcement. Coleman described the positive behavior that earned Danny the honor, then announced his name.

He accepted the honor humbly. But in the hall, when changing classes, he was all smiles.

Building Excellent Schools for Today and the 21st Century is a statewide alliance of education, business, labor and community organizations.

The Ohio's BEST Practices initiative is a search for exemplary education programs that have been successful in improving the performance of students, teachers and schools.

By spotlighting and sharing successful programs in Ohio's schools, BEST seeks to identify innovative education improvements.

Information: 686-1750.


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