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December 17, 2015

Seven Newton County School System (NCSS) schools were recently recognized by the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) for their outstanding accomplishments with their continuing implementation of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, also known as PBIS. Recognition was based on PBIS program accomplishments during the 2014-2015 school year. PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety, improve school climate, and support improved academic outcomes for all students.

The state has three recognition levels for PBIS Schools, including Installing, Emerging, and Operational. Cousins Middle School earned “Emerging” status based on the schools 2014-2015 PBIS program initiatives. According to Georgia DOE guidelines, an Emerging PBIS program has developed a minimum of 6 to 10 of the PBIS Critical Elements and has data to reflect that office discipline referrals or suspensions are declining or have stabilized.      

Six NCSS schools attained the highest recognition status—Operational—for their PBIS accomplishments during the 2014-2015 school year. These schools include: Middle Ridge Elementary, Clements Middle, Indian Creek Middle, Liberty Middle, Veterans Memorial Middle, and Newton High. To earn an “Operational” status, schools must have not only completed all requirements for the program, but also have developed all 10 PBIS Critical Elements; seen suspension rates decline or stabilize; and also seen attendance rates stabilize and/or increase.

The 10 PBIS Critical Elements these schools must have to meet Operational status are:

  •        PBIS Team/Roles
  •        Faculty/Staff  Commitment
  •        Effective Procedures for Dealing with Discipline
  •        Data Entry & Analysis Plan Established
  •        Expectations & Rules Developed
  •        Acknowledgement Program Established
  •        Lesson Plans for Teaching Expectations/ Rules
  •        Implementation Plan
  •        Classroom Systems
  •        Evaluation

“We are very proud of all of our current PBIS schools’ accomplishments and excited about the addition of eight new schools,” said Amie Cumming, NCSS Coordinator of Student Services. “We fully expect to have all fifteen of our PBIS schools receive some level of recognition from the state DOE for the 2015-16 school year. The new schools are Alcovy, Live Oak, Porterdale, West Newton, Flint Hill, Fairview, Livingston, and Mainstay Academy.”

Cumming added, “NCSS is recognized throughout the state as an exemplary PBIS district. Newton High, Clements Middle, and Middle Ridge Elementary recently presented at the Georgia PBIS conference in Atlanta and other districts frequently request to visit our PBIS schools.”

“PBIS is changing the way we think of school culture and climate for the better,” said Dr. Craig Lockhart, Deputy Superintendent of Newton County School System. “This framework allows for us to ‘rebrand’ our schools in a positive light, and students are responding well to our initiatives. We have seen dramatic decreases in student disciplinary incidents over the past few years, and we plan to keep making efforts to continue this upward trend.  We want to thank our PBIS District and School Leadership Teams for all of the work they have put forth in making this a successful endeavor.”