Today’s Thoughts: Pandemic Positives for Montgomery County Schools

ADJUSTING TO THE “NEW NORMAL”

In March of 2020, schooling, as we have known it, changed.  Educators were catapulted into a new and challenging way of teaching due to the worldwide pandemic.   Homes became schools and family members became teachers. 

However, this change has not been challenging for all.   Some students have thrived.  Students we were providing supports for in brick and mortars have become virtual learning rock stars!    Others, who thrived on daily routine and in person social interactions, now struggle with this “new normal”.  

For all of us, the context of how we “do” school transformed overnight.  Those things considered “challenging” or “problematic” in the classroom shifted when the classroom became a computer monitor with visuals and sounds.

LEARNING IS A PROCESS, NOT A LOCATION

our “why” remains constant

In the article, 5 Ways to Manage Behavior in an online classroom,  it reminds us that Learning is a process, not a location.

Context includes the variables of who, what, when, where and why.  As PaPBS Network Facilitators partnering with 46 schools (including 2 approved private schools and one cyber charter school) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the answers to most of these “Wh” questions remain relatively the same.   The what (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework), who (students and staff), and when (school day) were in place and working prior to the worldwide pandemic.  The “where” has changed from a brick and mortar school building to online to a “back and forth” hybrid model.   But the “why” has remained constant:  Learning is a process not a location.

Our schools implementing PBIS relied on its foundational elements to provide them the “how to do school” during a pandemic.  This included shared ownership and collaboration among teachers and families and establishing common language in the form of defining expectations and routines.   Using this same framework that had proven successful pre pandemic allowed these schools to continue to teach and students to learn within a new context.  Learning is a process, not a location. 

Honoring Success

Today we honor the students, staff, families, and the communities of 16 schools who persevered through uncharted waters of a worldwide pandemic to be state recognized by the Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PaPBS) Network for implementing PBIS with high fidelity proving that learning is a process, not a location.

Congratulations to the following schools who were recognized on November 13, 2020.

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Knapp Elementary (North Penn School District)

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Schwenksville Elementary, South Elementary, and Evergreen Elementary (Perkiomen Valley School District)

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Bridgeport Elementary, Roberts Elementary, Candlebrook Elementary, and Upper Merion Middle School (Upper Merion Area School District)

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Ringing Rocks Elementary and West Pottsgrove Elementary (Pottsgrove School District)

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Hereford Elementary (Upper Perkiomen School District)

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McKinley Elementary, Highland Elementary, Copper Beech Elementary, Rydal Elementary, and Roslyn Elementary (Abington School District)

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The Pathway School

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Karen Stover-Perri is a Project Consultant in the area of Behavior. Karen has extensive educational experience, having taught elementary through the secondary level. She is a PBIS Facilitator and former coach for the Project Max Initiative. Karen believes in keeping things real, simple, and practical. These same qualities are seen in her workshops. Participants will come away with practical strategies to support behavior as well as how to implement the tenants of school wide positive behavior interventions and supports.

In her spare time, Karen is an avid tennis player and is also known to play a game of two of Bocce. Karen has spent many years teaching children and adults tennis, as well as coaching at the middle school level.

Follow Karen on Twitter @KarenSPerri

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Becky has over 27 years of experience in a wide variety of educational roles, including 14 years of classroom experience in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She has been privileged to be part of educational teams at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, most recently in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework development. Becky currently works as a Project Consultant on School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) and academic MTSS systems development, with a strong interest in evidence based and equitable instructional practices, social/emotional learning, special education, and data based decision making models.

Becky earned a B. S. Ed. in Elementary/Special Education from Sippery Rock University, a M. S. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Neumann University, and is currently a member of the Interdisciplinary Doctor of Education Program for Educational Leaders at St. Joseph's University. She holds Instructional II certification in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Reading Specialist PK-12; Special Education and Curriculum Supervision certifications, and Principal PK-12 certification.

Becky is passionate about empowering each training participant to learn from and with each other in engaging, facilitated workshops as we bring research to action in the field!

Follow Becky on Twitter @BeckyMillspaugh or connect via LinkedIn

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Kari Kessler is a Project Consultant in the area of Autism. Kari has a Master's in Education from Penn State and is a Certified Competent Learner Model Coach and Coordinator. She recently completed her coursework through Florida Institute of Technology to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has been a coach in Intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis programs.

Prior to being a consultant, Kari taught in Autistic Support Programs for students with complex instructional needs all the way to the other end of the spectrum- the Asperger's student. Kari is devoted to high quality, rigorous education for students with autism. She is passionate that students be prepared for life after high school. Kari's enthusiasm for education and students with disabilities is evident in her engaging presentation style.

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Marisa Crapella is a Project Consultant in the area of Behavior. Marisa is a School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) Facilitator. She is also a trained facilitator of the Supplementary Aids and Consideration Toolkit. Marisa brings a wealth of experience to her trainings and consultation from behavior to how to include the most complex learners. Marisa has a dual certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. She has a Master's Degree in Special Education and a post Master's certification in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has had experience working in a wide variety of settings from public to private institutions, as well as across multiple disability categories. Marisa worked previously with PATTAN in its implementation of Project Max, an initiative designed to bring access to general education to self-contained special education programs. Participants to Marisa's workshops comment on her engaging presentation style, ability to make strong connections to the topics, and her obvious love of her work.

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Carol Grubb joined IU #23 in 2017. Prior to that, she was a Student Support Specialist in a Chester County School District. She also worked several years at a residential facility overseeing the K-5 mathematics curriculum while designing and implementing the behavioral support structure and positive reinforcement system. She is certified in Elementary and Special Education, Middle Level Mathematics, Principal K-12, and has a Mathematics Coaching Endorsement. As part of IU #23, she supports the PA state initiatives in Autism and PBIS. Carol is passionate about student engagement, inclusion, and fostering a positive learning environment where students can grow both academically and socially.