L’Anse teachers report behavior techniques

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette Teachers Heather Grentz, left, and Kristin Marczak described the benefits to students with the addition of Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative.

L’ANSE — Teachers updated the School Board about the benefits of the integration of a positive, consistent method of addressing behavioral problems.

The teachers are working with Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MIBLSI), which was introduced in the grade school on Jan. 27 and will spread into the high school next.

“Reading and the behavior are the two focus areas of MIBLSI,” Teacher Kristin Marczak said, noting reading scores have already improved dramatically putting the school in line with others in the state where it had been straggling. “We’re an at-risk school, and it shows. Reading is a huge part.”

The message to students is to be respectful, be responsible and be safe. If they follow the rules, they’re rewarded for positive behaviors.

The teachers have been developing a set of standards to determine the consequences for various misbehaviors based on the severity of each undesired actions, referring to them as minor and major infractions.

“If we don’t squash the minors, we’re going to have majors,” Marczak said.

Marczak has been working with Elementary Principal John Nawrot, Anne Schumer and Michelle Lambert as a team to implement the program.

Teacher Heather Grentz is working on tailoring the program to introduce it to the high school next, along with High School Principal Melissa Scroggs, Martin Melee, Jen Knisley and Amy Nawrot.

Students rewards include regularly choosing a well-behaving student from each grade, whose pictures and writeups are posted on a bulletin board at the school and online.

“The public really likes to see the kids doing something positive,” said Superintendent Susan Tollefson, noting as soon as the information is posted, she gets a lot of notifications indicating the public is also responding to the school’s positive reinforcement of good behavior.”