“Proactive” is the name of the game this year at North Canton City Schools as administration try support students who are struggling and train teachers in crisis management.
The district just trained about 30 teachers in crisis management techniques Feb. 8 and is working on implementing what they call PBSI (Positive Behavior Support Initiative) throughout Hoover High School.
Hoover Associate Principal Henry Householder said the PBSI program relies more on supporting students who may be struggling as opposed to punishing them when a problem arises.
“I can say we have some good kids at North Canton,” Householder said. “They make some good choices anyway; however, what we want to do is be more uniform across the board in what we expect from kids and eventually what we want to do is look into ways of rewarding students for doing good things, doing the right things.”
He said the PBSI program is a “way to set norms and expectations across the building” and usually takes a few years to fully implement. Right now it’s in its infancy stages. What kicked it off in North Canton was a survey of staff members to see what they thought needed to be addressed.
“Right now, we’re taking a look at our data, what we are doing and why our kids are struggling, and we’re going to try to address those problems over a period of time by implementing different programs,” Householder said.
Factored into the program is a more effective way to draw information on specific students, so school officials don’t have to look in several places and through several spreadsheets.
On top of that, the district has also trained 57 staff throughout the year for crisis intervention, using preventative techniques. One training session just took place Feb. 8.
The Ohio Department of Education is looking at implementing policies for restraint and seclusion within the schools, said Elaine Karp, director of public services at North Canton City Schools. So the district wants to put special emphasis on the training to address what's being handed down from the ODE.
“We wanted to be proactive and provide trainings for our teachers,” she said, adding the trainings are a full day, and teachers go back in a year for a half-day refresher course.
The trainings focus on using verbal techniques — instead of restraining or isolating a child — when a crisis situation arises.
The training is not related to the ALICE training, which Superintendent Michael Hartenstein said North Canton teachers also would be trained on.