Pictured, during the award presentation, from left, are Roaby Browning, Michael Evans, Angie Seymour, Ryan Pigman, Libby Stevens, Wellston Middle School Principal Brandi Cupp, Benny Trace, David O’Brien, Kaley Lower, Donna Allen and Wellston Superintendent Karen Boch.

WELLSTON — In December, Wellston Middle School (WMS) received a special state award for practicing an instructional approach to discipline.

Each year the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) Network, through the 16 Ohio State Support Teams (SST), recognizes schools for their quality of PBIS implementation.

Schools are eligible to receive awards at the bronze, silver or gold level of distinction.

In 2019, WMS was one of 230 award-winning schools recognized. The school was presented a bronze level award by Ryan Pigman, on behalf of the Ohio Department of Education, on Dec. 19, 2019.

WMS Principal Brandi Cupp told The Courier they have worked collaboratively as a staff and team toward PBIS efforts.

“Creating a climate of compassionate care has been an integral focus, working to build positive relationships and connections on a foundation of mutual respect: all things good result from that,” stated Cupp. “Through a common philosophy on discipline, we understand that consequences do not change behaviors and just as we would teach for academic growth, we also teach toward behavioral and social/emotional growth.”

Cupp explained that PBIS is currently in its third year. She has witnessed a 56 percent reduction in discipline referrals, as well as growth on the state-issued report cards, with significant academic gains in all academic areas, particularly “gap closing.” The middle school, Cupp said, has also seen a reduction in chronic absenteeism by seven percent.

WMS’s PBIS team also presented at the Ohio School Improvement Institute Conference in Columbus and the Ohio PBIS Showcase in Dayton in December, as well.

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