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Indian Creek Middle earns award

RECOGNIZED — Indian Creek Middle School is being recognized for promoting Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports strategies by the Ohio Department of Education and received a bronze award from the Ohio PBIS Network. The school’s PBIS team members include, from left, front: School counselor Cary Smith, teacher Robyn Scott, behavioral analyst Michelle Dupree-Anderson and Principal Holly Minch-Hick. Back: Teacher David Kemp, teacher Alex Bodnar, Assistant Principal Scott Abercrombie and teacher Matt Cowser. (Contributed photo)

MINGO JUNCTION — Indian Creek Middle School has been recognized for its efforts to promote Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports strategies with an award from the Ohio Department of Education.

The school earned a bronze award from the Ohio PBIS Network through ODE and will be recognized at a future Indian Creek Board of Education meeting. Principal Holly Minch-Hick said officials applied in September and had to submit evidence of activities the school does to provide a strong learning atmosphere. She noted that the school’s PBIS team, which includes teachers, counselors and administrators, work diligently to support students and improve their environment.

“It’s super exciting because our teachers do so much to promote a positive school climate and I think they deserve this recognition,” she said. “PBIS is a framework for schools to identify needs, develop strategies and evaluate practices to improve climate and culture, increase learning outcomes, self-regulate behaviors and diminish challenging behaviors.”

Minch-Hick noted that the fundamental purpose is to make schools a more effective learning environment by being consistent with rules and procedures throughout the building, creating a predictable environment and promoting safety in positive ways.

“As a staff, we created the building expectations and placed them in a matrix identifying the areas of focus being the classroom, hallways, restroom, lunchroom and bus. This was made into a poster and is displayed in every classroom and throughout the building. A big part of PBIS is to teach the expectation, so at the start of every year and after every school break we have a teaching schedule where teachers will take students to various locations throughout the building review, model and practice the expected behavior.”

One activity has included monthly Tomahawk Ticket drawings where teachers would hand students a ticket that they would sign and place into various grade-level buckets outside the office. Drawings were held each month in the cafeteria with winners receiving $25 Walmart gift cards, vouchers for Domino’s Pizza or Extra Value Meal cards from McDonald’s. However, the advent of COVID-19 has led to an altered format and now includes a distance learning behavior matrix for virtual students and virtual tickets that teachers submit through an online link so those pupils have a chance to participate.

Students have also participated in events throughout the year such as signing the CARES Pledge, a kick-off assembly, positive postcards which are sent home, student of the month recognition and random acts of kindness, among others.

“As part of the award, we had to have monthly meetings and review our data to determine our strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “We also had to participate in a fidelity check; students and teachers went through an interview process with an outside evaluator to determine our level of implementation and fidelity in the building.”

Assistant Principal Scott Abercrombie was delighted to see the school lauded, saying it was the building’s first such award and he credited Minch-Hick’s work with teachers to help make it happen.

“It’s a testament to her leadership that we’ve been doing this for so many years. It’s many things the school’s already been doing at a high level. We are very excited that we’ve been recognized for it.”

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