West Holmes schools are finding ways to promote, instill values and manners

West Holmes schools are finding ways to promote, instill values and manners
Dave Mast

Millersburg Elementary teachers Cheryl Nelson, left, Lindsy Snyder and Kelsey Miller are busy doing all of the things a student shouldn’t do in the hallway at school, like snoop through a locker and distract students in class. The teachers were part of a PBIS video that shows the good and bad ways to behave at school.


The reinforcement of positive behavioral interventions and supports, better known in educational circles as PBIS, has become an integral part of the ongoing effort to not only teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but also to instill values and good manners along the way.

Recently both Killbuck and Millersburg Elementary school staffs invested their time and acting talents into creating PBIS videos that feature the main points of courtesy and respect in the school.

“A lot of this was done simply by the staffs at the schools taking it by the horns and running with it,” said Brian Baughman, director of curriculum and federal programs.

It was Baughman who put the finishing touches on the effort by splicing all of the footage together to create the finished product, which shows teachers showing what to do and what not to do in various locations of the school.

Whether it is in the hallways, restrooms, lunch room or classrooms, the teachers acted out different behaviors and created scenarios for the students to watch and rewatch.

“We have made a real push in the area of PBIS,” Baughman said. “It is a state law that schools must now create some type of PBIS framework.”

With the passing of House Bill 318, staff and administrators in buildings with children from preschool through third grade must have some training in the PBIS arena.

Baughman said PBIS is a framework of how staff should interact and teach behaviors to students.

“We need to teach behaviors just like we teach math and science,” Baughman said. “It’s a framework that promotes good behavior, and part of what that includes is creating between three and five expectations for the children in the building.”

For Millersburg those ideals were be respectful, be responsible and be safe.

The staff then doled out assignments to video scenes that exemplified someone who was acting in the proper way as compared to someone who was acting improperly.

Each group of several teachers set about delivering those messages in their respective part of the school building.

Lindsey Snyder and her group took video in the hallway at Millersburg Elementary, where they filmed themselves misbehaving and then acting in a proper manner. Georgie Jaeb’s group filmed themselves acting out in bad ways in the restroom and then showed how students should act.

Baughman said oftentimes simply telling a child how they should act doesn’t sink in, but getting to see the teachers acting out their respective roles in ways that are amusing yet powerful can have a greater impact.

“I found myself laughing putting this together because the teachers were having a lot of fun, but the kids have a blast getting to see their teaches in these different situations acting silly,” Baughman said. “The hope is that these messages stick with the kids and they emulate the good aspects of each scenario. Videos can have a much bigger impact on today’s kids than ever before.”

In addition the staff also will take the students around the school in groups to discuss proper actions and how they should conduct themselves.

“It’s about being very specific and intentional about sharing how kids should act,” Baughman said. “We all have this assumption that kids should know how to act when they get to school, but the reality is that is not necessarily true. We have to get away from the assumption that they automatically know these things and begin to instill them.”

Killbuck Elementary created its PBIS video last spring while Millersburg Elementary made its video this fall.

In creating her vignette, Jaeb used the sounds of children cheering their approval on good cases while the sounds of boos ring out when one of the teachers did something improper.

Snyder went to three-day PBIS training last year and returned with a number of different ideas including the video project.

“A lot of what we talked about there, we were already doing,” Snyder said. “But we wanted to do something even better. We have all of our rules posted around the school, but what was the next step?”

One step was offering behavior parties at the end of each quarter that rewards students for good behavior. They did training days with each class last year and this year implemented the video.

“It’s there for us to utilize after Christmas break, after spring break and for any time a student needs a quick refresher about positive behaviors,” Snyder said. “We can use this as reinforcement for several years.”

Millersburg principal Renee Woods said children today are very different than they were even a decade ago, and learning to respect others, follow rules and teach etiquette is needed now more than ever.

“We can’t simply assume that kids understand what good behavior looks like,” Woods said. “This is something quick and simple, from running in the halls to playing in the playground, about how they are supposed to act.”

Woods said the kids enjoyed watching the teachers goof around, and they all shared a laugh, but they talked at the end of the video about how they can share a laugh now, but the message is a serious one.

“There are really good teaching opportunities in all of the fun,” Woods said.

In a media-driven world, the hope is these videos create new ways to reach and teach children the values of good behavior.

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