BPS receives $2.7 million grant

BPS recently received the federal School Climate Transformation Grant from the Department of Education, which awarded $2.7 million over a five period.

Superintendent Jeff Rippe said BPS was missing a consistent behavior model that made it easy for teachers to exercise efficient behavior control techniques. Rippe said this once existed in BPS through the Boys Town model, but now is again being implemented. Although the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports system is currently used, it does not provide a step-by-step guideline for teachers dealing with behavior problems.

“There really wasn’t a consistent model and that’s what we heard [from teachers],” Rippe said. “Part of that was cost, part of that was current administration not believing that it was a priority.”

Rippe said Boys Town is the best fit model for BPS. Dean Colin Mink said this is because  the model breaks down each behavior into its antecedent, the behavior itself, and what can be changed.

“I think the logical effect of it being applied properly would lead to fewer suspensions on our end,”  Mink said. “The idea is that [deans] are at the very bottom of the filter, so the classroom teacher’s interventions usually catches about 95 percent of the issues.”

English and reading instructor Rebecca Rabick used to work for Boys Town as a trainer.  She said she would like to see fewer dean interactions as well because she never wants to send a kid out on a referral when they need to be in the classroom so she prefers talk it through and to give the student the opportunity to learn.

“Part of that is because of Boys Town,” Rabick said. “So if I have a kid who freaks out on me in class and even if it is something really egregious, I will walk away and give that kid a second to gather himself or herself. It is not like I am excusing the behavior, I am just giving the kid time to wind down because I know he is in the crisis cycle. When a person is in a crisis cycle, we cannot communicate.”

Rippe said overtime the district should see better behaviors and social skills out of students which, to him, equates to higher achievements. He said if students understand what is expected of them in the classroom and they follow those socials skills, it should have an impact on their academics and achievements. As for once the five years is up, Rippe said they will keep with the Boys Town method.

“We will just have to continue to pick up that training, so to train new staff members that come to the district,” Rippe said.

Rippe said there is also a train the trainers model to where BPS will have district employees that will train new teachers.

“This will definitely reduce the cost of the program by removing the need for trainers from Boys Town,” Rippe said.

Having gone through the training, Rabick said it consists of a lot of role playing and is very interactive. With the Boys Town method, she said she does not think she would have stayed in teaching. She said it is a wonderful program that benefits teachers and students through academic achievements and increases time for students in the classroom.

“If we have high expectations academically and behaviorally, high expectations and low tolerance yield increase in instructional time,” Rabick said. “Increased instructional time equals increased learning. I believe we will see huge strides and gains from students with this program.”