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How Co-Teaching Benefits Students and Teachers Alike

Co-Teaching Benefits

Co-teaching has been implemented in a number of classrooms across the Chillicothe school district in an effort to create more opportunities for individualized learning, simplify classroom management and develop more well-rounded lesson plans. In co-teaching classrooms, two or more teachers work together to design and deliver instruction in a manner that benefits both the instructors and students. Assuring district families understand the benefits of this important classroom strategy to their student’s educational experience is important.

“Co-teaching is a huge asset to students because we’re able to give them multiple methods to learn materials,” said Beth Elliot, intervention specialist for middle school math classes. “When a class has two or more teachers, content can be presented from multiple perspectives. For example, I learn best using logic and rules, rather than visual-spatial instruction. My co-teacher, however, is a strong visual learner and is able to present information in that way. Between the two of us, students can find an approach that makes the most sense to them.”

Co-teaching is also beneficial because it lowers the student-to-teacher ratio. With multiple adults in the classroom, student behavior can be closely monitored to put a stop to disruptive behaviors before they become a distraction for peers. The presence of another adult in the room also encourages students to be more engaged because they can discreetly ask questions without feeling like they’re interrupting the lesson.

“My co-teachers and I can get to know our students better using this model,” said Elliott. “I’m more aware of what students have going on in their lives in and outside of the classroom, so I can refer them to the support services they may need and impact their lives in more ways than solely through what they’re learning in class.”

Co-teaching allows the teaching staff to combine resources and expertise, which ultimately speeds up the lesson-planning and development process. During the day, teachers can also meet with more students individually, spending time on what they need academically and emotionally. It also gives staff the opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate how to positively interact with others.

“We get to work with other adults collaboratively and effectively, setting an example for students,” said Kelly Price, second grade teacher. “Our team of teachers is incredibly close, and the students have bought into the positive, united culture we’ve established, which has positively affected the way they work and play together.”

To learn more about the benefits of co-teaching, reach out to Beth Elliot at beth.elliot@ccsd.us.

Creating Positive Classroom Culture at the Primary School

PAX Good Behavior

The Chillicothe City School District (CCSD) administration is always looking for innovative ways to improve classroom management. Earlier this month, primary school staff received training for the PAX Good Behavior Game, a powerful, evidence-based program that provides teachers with the tools they need to guide students through self-regulation, trauma-informed care, positive social behaviors and social-emotional learning.

“Through PAX, teachers are able to reinforce positive behaviors and reduce negative ones, which empowers students to develop desirable social interactions and self-regulation,” said Joanna Strawser, Chillicothe Primary School principal. “PAX provides teachers with strategies to encourage positive behaviors by setting expectations that are clear and consistent in their classrooms and throughout the building.”

It also teaches staff how to foster a nurturing environment in and out of the classroom that can support the development of children exposed to trauma. The program equips teachers with research-based approaches to support student development, allowing them to have a role in creating peer encouragement to create supportive classroom environments.

“We’ve seen positive changes in our first month,” said Strawser. “The teachers are eager to kick off the program and have started implementing small parts of it in their classrooms. We’ve already observed students being quieter than usual in the hallways and in transitions, which is a wonderful first step.”

Encouraging positive behaviors and leadership is a comprehensive effort within the district, and students participate in numerous programs for self-development. In addition to PAX, staff at the primary school have implemented Respect Awards, which students can earn daily for being respectful to themselves, to others or to the school. They also implemented On the Ball in the Hall, which is an initiative that encourages students to walk through the halls silently and in a single-file line. Classrooms are incentivized to receive On the Ball in the Hall certificates because the more they receive, the more rewards they earn, such as a pajama day.

Students also have monthly Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) goals. Students who don’t receive any disciplinary action for negative behaviors are eligible to participate in dance parties, free ice cream, movie days, roller skating and more.

For more information on PAX, visit www.goodbehaviorgame.org or email Joanna Strawser at joanna.strawser@ccsd.us.

How Reinforcing Positive Behavior Has Improved Our Classrooms

students snow tubing

While the Positive Behavioral Intervention & Reinforcement (PBIS) program has been established in the middle and high school for several years, teachers and administrators recently revisited the program and how it works in an effort to improve student behavior in the classroom. PBIS encourages and reinforces positive actions, rather than exclusively focusing on students who behave negatively and disciplining them.

For middle and high school students, behaviors are tracked on a level scale. Every day, students start out at level 0, meaning the student has shown no behavioral problems. Students receive a warning before moving up a level. If behavior doesn’t improve after a warning, they move up to a level 1, which leads to lunch detention. Level 2 leads to after school detention, and level 3 leads to the student going to the office, going home and in-school suspension the following day.

“It’s amazing how well PBIS has worked,” says Matthew Ballentine, middle and high school principal. “Students are significantly more motivated to behave well than they were before, because they know their good behavior may be rewarded.”

Throughout the year, administrators do random drawings for incentives such as a free ice cream or other perks to reward students who haven’t had any behavior issues. There are also two big trips for all students who remain at level 0 for an entire semester. In the fall, those students go snow tubing at Bell Fountain for $10. In the spring, students go to King’s Island for $20. Administrators are working on more fundraising ideas to make these trips completely free for students.

Students who aren’t eligible for these trips spend the day in the cafeteria with guidance counselors to discuss behavioral issues and how to improve them. Last year, 220 out of 400 students went snow tubing in the fall and 250 students were eligible to go to King’s Island in the spring. This increase shows staff and administrators that students want to do what’s necessary to go on fun trips with their classmates.

In the first 12 weeks of last year, 1900 students were referred to the principal’s office for behavior issues, and in the first 12 weeks of this school year, only 1100 students were referred to the office. Ballentine hopes to see those numbers continue to decrease as the year goes on.

“I was skeptical about PBIS at first,” said Ballentine. “But the improvements we’ve seen in student behavior in the last year and a half show how well it works. I’m continually impressed by the decrease in office referrals and detentions and by students who have changed their behavior for the better.”

CCSD Food Services Team Provides Meals to Families in Need

winter food boxes

During the winter months, Chillicothe City School District is working diligently to ensure students and their families have access to food. These initiatives include a mobile meals program to guarantee students get a hot meal on snow days and a holiday dinner for lower income families.

Last year the food services team launched the mobile meals program by bringing hot meals to specific drop off locations throughout the district during snow days. While all students have access to two hot, healthy meals during normal school days, the same cannot be said on days when school is canceled. To combat this, Mary Montgomery, director of food services at CCSD, put a plan of action together to ensure all students have access to balanced meals on snow days. With support from her staff, including Tabitha Muse and Sarah Hawthorne, the food services team was able to deliver 352 lunches during a snow day last year.

“This year, we’ve reached out to students and parents and asked them if they need lunch on snow or cold temperature cancelation days,” said Montgomery. “We’re now in the process of mapping out all of the locations and creating drop-off zones for those locations. We will make the lunches at the high school cafeteria and will have volunteers deliver them. Students and families in need can identify us by the #CavsCare decals on our cars.”

Another initiative started by the food services team is an annual Holiday Spirit Dinner, which was held December 10. The event was started by Montgomery in 2016 and involves serving meals to select district families in need. Each building principal invites families to the dinner, which takes place in the high school cafeteria. The event is kept private for families to enjoy a delicious dinner together during the holiday season without having to worry about the financial burden.

Community members can help those in need by volunteering over the holiday season at food pantries and at mobile meal drop-off locations.

“Our community does a great job of helping our students when we ask them to,” says Montgomery. “We’re looking into ways to raise awareness of the gap in food availability at pantries over the Christmas holiday and provide food to our students who need it.”

For food available during this year’s holiday break, please see the below calendar.

winter meals calendar