The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education presented the award June 10 during a ceremony at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. The department recognized 280 Missouri organizations for successfully implementing the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS) program, a comprehensive approach for improving student behavior and academic performance.
Among the 280 honorees, United Services for Children was among the few that were not public schools. The nonprofit agency operates a pediatric therapy and developmental learning center for preschool-age children. Located in St. Peters, it provides services for approximately 1,000 children annually.
The agency is also one of the few early childhood programs to use Positive Behavior Support, or PBS, a program typically implemented at the elementary school level, said Mandy Settle, behavior specialist and chairwoman of the PBS program for United Services for Children.
The state recognized schools at three levels—gold, silver and bronze. United Services for Children received a bronze award. The levels correspond to the PBS program’s three tiers. The first establishes a proactive foundation of consistent expectations for all students. The second provides more intense intervention for at-risk students. The third addresses individual students with severe needs.
PBS started in the late 1980s as a federally funded project at the University of Oregon. Today, more than 70,000 schools across the United States use PBS. Approximately 700 Missouri schools participate in the state-funded SW-PBS program.
Tom Schutzenhofer, team supervisor for United Services for Children, introduced PBS to the agency in 2008. Schutzenhofer said he wanted to establish consistent expectations for student behavior throughout all departments and classrooms.
To better present PBS to children, the agency uses a tiger mascot named Paws. Children learn to observe Paws’ Laws—“be safe, be kind, be responsible.” Monica Wilmsen, early childhood special education teacher, uses a Paws hand puppet to instruct children on safety. For instance, the puppet might tell them to walk instead of run. The children do not want to disappoint Paws, she said.
For more information on United Services for Children, visit http://www.unitedservicesforchildren.org
Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 12:16 PM - stltoday.com