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November 12, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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November 12, 2015
 

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CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, November 12, 2015 ...... fli By AL STOVER Staff Reporter PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) has been implemented throughout the Cheney School District, and now students at Westwood Middle School are working to make their classes safer while building a better environment. West-wood recently established two PBIS student committees, one comprised of sixth-graders and the other seventh and eighth-graders. PBIS student communities are not anything new to schools on the West Plains. There are committees established at Cheney High School and Medical Lake Middle School. Westwood counselor Cassie Costello said stu- dents came to her with concerns about the behav- ior they witnessed in class from their classmates. She got the idea for students to meet monthly and brainstorm ideas for positive behavior. "I'm happy to give students a voice and the com- mittee gives them a space to express their concerns," Costello said. "And all kids are welcome." Eric White Boomer is one of the six-grade com- mittee members. Like other students, he too had some concerns about behaviors he had seen in the classroom. "It's nice to get to discuss our concerns with classmates," White Boomer said. "It's also nice to have our ideas and concerns heard and be taken seriously." Garner Prior and Kelly Goforth are two eighth- graders who joined the seventh/eighth grade committee not only to address the issues they see in class, but also to "help solve problems" and get more involved with school. One of the activities the committee has done is creating and posting posters around the building Hallett Eleme "When you show how positive you are, you're showing that you care as opposed to showing anger. Being positive to others opens their heart. You're also setting an example and showing others what kind of person they can be." Westwood Middle School student Gamer Prior Photo by AI Stover This is one of .the posters on display throughout West- wood Middle School designed by the PBIS student committees. The posters encourage students to use approPriate language and be kind to each other. that promotes following the rules and not bullying classmates. "The posters are meant to spread the word, which is what we'd like to see," Prior said. "Other groups around school have helped as well. There are a lot of ways to get the word out. It's nice to see it get around." In October, White Boomer said the committee also helped celebrate Red Ribbon Week, which promotes tobacco, drugs and violence prevention and awareness. The committees are currently hold- ing a school-wide poster contest. In December, they will conduct a survey to collect data and hear what problems students may have. They're also planning activities for the school's "Kindness Month." Costello added that the committee has shared some of the concerns and ideas with staff mem- bers. "Teachers are thankful to hear about what's go- ing on and what to watch out for," Costello said. In addition to correcting misbehavior, the com- mittees focus on utilizing positive response. White Boomer said addressing problems with a positive response can improve a ]earning environ- ment. One of Priors ideas to spread positivity and re- ward good behavior is through learning videos, which he watched during his time at Sunset Elementary School, or a weekly newscast, similar to the "Hawks News" broadcasts at Salnave Elementary School. "When you show how positive you are, you're showing that you care as opposed to showing an- ger," Prior said. "Being positive to others opens their heart. You're also setting an example and showing others what kind of person they can be." AI Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress. com. installs buddy bench round By AL STOVER tension to the playground to help Staff Reporter students be kind to others or seek a There's a new feature on the Hal- friend to play with." lett Elementary School playground McSmith said the school cus- - a buddy bench, todian took one of the building's Hallett principal Cindy McSmithexisting benches and painted it in a said the school's PBIS (Positive Be- "colorful and inviting way." Coun- havior Intervention Support) team selors have visited each classroom developed the idea of installing a to inform students about the bench buddy bench on the premises. The and remind them that it is a special PBIS team focuses on teaching stu- place where they can make new dents positive behaviors to be suc- friends, invite others to play and ',essful in all areas of the school. "be their kindest selves." "We recognize that some stu- "The bench has been a very posi- lents may at times feel they have tive addition for our students, and no one to play with, or they may our custodian is planning tb paint a feel alone outside during recess," second buddy bench for a different McSmith said. "We wanted to help area of the playground," McSmith facilitate a special place they could said. gotofindfriendship, orjoinagame. AI Stover can be reached at The buddy bench was a natural ex- al@cheneyfreepress.com. Photo contributed by Cindy McSmith Hallett Elementary students with the new buddy bench. From left to right: Aspen Whitaker, Lake James, Preston Hansen, Elizabeth Gies and Tyson Newman. EWU brings foster parent mentoring p By AL STOVER Mentor (RPM) program proach in that RPMs will Staff Reporter to it. Kim Fordham, the personally visit.families. Eastern Washington program's director, said Since 2007, the RPM University's College of the training center cre- has helped increase the Social and Behavioral ated the RPM to support demand for foster parent Sciences and Social Work and meet the needs oftraining by 60 percent (CSBSSW), which is re- Idaho families as well as throughout Idaho. ceiving over $1.2 million develop strategies on the "The peer mentors do in contract funding from recruitment and retention a lot of mentoring and the Washington State of foster parents as wellas support," Fordham said. Department of Social and focus on the needs of local "RPMs also help foster Health Services over the children, parents with challenges, next two years, recently Mentors, who are of- whether it's troubled kids, created a peer mentoring ten experienced foster the birth parents or when program, FosteringWAto parents, willhelp families foster children leave the help educate and support on practicing the best home and move on." current and prospective principles, roles and re- With the program's foster parents, sponsibilities. They also success in Idaho, Ford- The college's Idahohelp with the assessment, ham proposed the idea Child Welfare Research selection, preparation and of building a grass roots and Training Center will placement of foster chil- program in Eastem Wash- manage FosteringWA and dren. The program takes ington to meet the needs adapt its Recruiter Peer a regional and local ap- of local families. Foster- rogram to W; ;hington ingWA's office is located where there are mono-pair them with kids that in Senior Hall on the EWU lingual families and only would be a good match campus and there are speak one language," for them." RPMs working in dif- Fordhamsaid. "We wantEastern is continuing ferent areas throughout to make sure we can ac- to help foster families and Washington state, commodate those, and children. 'They recently Fordham said the pro- nurturing those folks to established the Dru Pow- gram is going well so far become good foster par- ers MSW Child Welfare and the "RPMs are keep- ents and leaders." Scholarship, as to honor ing the wheels turning," In the long term, Ford Powers' contributions "The program now is ham hopes the programto foster children and fully staffed," Fordham can help increase thefamilies and her ongoing said. "I feel like the foun- number of foster parents work to improve the fos- dation is built." and help them navigate ter care system in Wash- Fordham added that the system, ington state. the community has got- "We want to bring "It's amazing know- tenbehind FosteringWA. them in and show theming how EWU is invested She hopes to make sure what being a foster par- in helping foster kids the program has RPMs ent is like and some and getting behind these and staff is "where they of the challenges that programs," Fordham need to be." come with it," Fordham said. "We're hoping we said. "With more fosterAl Stover can be reached can have RPMs in areas parents, we'd be able to at al@cheneyfreepress.com. Dylan Herron Senior Academic Student of the Week Medical Lake Kiwanis NOVEMBER Academic Student of the Week Junior, Grady Chiamulon Medical Lake Kiwanis Meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at Noon at the Pizza Factory. The Board meets the 1st Wednesday of the Month at noo0. Congratulations? Four Co venienf oc, [ion " Spokane Cheney 509-465-1749 509-559-5038 Airway Heights Fairways Plaza 509-244-9968 509-413-2140