NEW WORLD ISLAND – New World Island Academy started a new program this school year to prevent bullying and to help create a more positive atmosphere in school.
The initiative called Positive Behaviour Intervention and Supports or PBIS, began as a full day activity for the students at the school on Sept. 7. Many activities were set up for the students all day to show them how even small gestures can make a big difference.
“Something as small as saying hello can make a huge impact on someone,” said teacher Sue Rodgers.
Ms. Rodgers told the students gathered in the gym about a woman who taught at a school she used to work. The teacher said hello to students every day on their way in and by doing this she helped one student in dealing with her parents getting divorced.
“So this girl, who didn’t have this teacher for any of her classes, came back to visit when she was in university to tell her how saying hello every morning, how putting the effort into saying hi every day, made such a big difference in her life,” she said.
After the presentation, students were sent to their homerooms for a shorter presentation on the finer details of what the PBIS program was all about.
“We started last year at the end of the year to move forward with Positive Behaviour Intervention and Supports just as a way of promoting a positive atmosphere in our school and respect among our students,” said principal Carolyn Clark.
While the school doesn’t have a big issue with bullying, there is always room to improve. With a school ranging from Grade K-12, the variety in ages of the students makes plenty of opportunity to have good examples for the younger students.
“We try to promote a climate where our older students are role models for our younger students and they are the ones promoting and modeling the positive behaviours,” said Ms. Clark.
Students will have a chance to win a prize by doing something nice for a peer, but it won’t be all the time. The goal for the PBIS is to show students that being nice can make a big difference, and that creating a positive atmosphere is recognized by the staff.
“You can’t just run and do something nice in front of a teacher with your hands out and going, ‘Where’s my prize?’ It doesn’t work like that. You have to be nice all the time, and sometimes it will get recognized,” said vice-principal Jon Williams.
The PBIS program isn’t new to the school district, but this is the first year the New World Island Academy has tried the approach. On the committee who organized and will co-ordinate further PBIS projects are Ms. Clark, Mr. Williams, Kelly Hearn, Scott Burton, Madonna White, Noreen Stewart, Joy Callahan, Craig Barnes and Crystal Bowen.
“We will do, periodically throughout the year, some similar days to what we’ve done (Sept. 7) where we will do sort of like a pep rally, school spirit day. And it won’t be a whole day like this because this is our launch, but it might be like last half hour/hour of the day,” said principal Clark.