In an effort to foster a positive relationship between Portsmouth City School District (PCSD) and members of the community, the district started its quarterly Portsmouth Educational Forum once again Sept. 22, with a large group of prominent community members, parents, and Portsmouth citizens for a luncheon with members from every Portsmouth school, including the administration staff.
A lot of school-wide positives were discussed, as well as individual success stories from each building, ensuring the public that the school year has been started off on the right foot.
Superintendent Scott Dutey began the forum with sharing the results from the state report card. Dutey also spoke about the positive changes in the school, and the staff plans to prepare students for the ever-changing standardized testing.
Principal Kristi Toppins, of East Portsmouth Elementary School, spoke about the positives of her school, reminding everyone just how involved in Portsmouth City Schools, and the community, her Sciotoville students are.
Toppins discussed the benefits of shipping students to Portsmouth Elementary School to participate in the summer school program and other activities. She also discussed the improvement she’s seen in standardized testing scores and shared a Blueprint of State Assessments with the Portsmouth staff.
“I had a teacher, that had all of her kids pass the tests for reading,” Toppins explained. “But not all of the students passed the first time. With the math test, we only offer it once, and she got 100 percent of her students to pass the test. My immediate question to her was, ‘can you show me what you did?’ Everyone has the opportunity to get online and print off the blueprints, then you have to take the time to follow through and look up every standard. She kept going over the standards, and going over the standards again.”
Elementary school Principal, Beth Born introduced two members Positive Behavior Team, and shared their success in creating lasting positive behavior with elementary school students.
Third grade teacher Karen Porter explained the program and it’s purpose to visitors.
The program rewards students on a long-term and short-term basis, based on the five ‘big ideas,’ honesty, citizenship, caring, respect and responsibility. It’s designed to motivate and reward positive behaviors. The students are awarded with Trojan bucks, quarterly rewards, lunch-bunch rewards and movie rewards.
“It can be handed out by any staff member that sees a student doing a good act,” Porter explained. “It can be small, big, it’s an easy thing. The Trojan bucks are turned in to the office by grade-level and each morning the student speaker draws one winner per grade level and announces it.”
Porter also explained that students who turn in Trojan bucks on Friday morning, can be rewarded with a ‘lunch-bunch,’ prize. Two winners from each grade level are selected, and they get to sit on the stage with a friend during lunch and share a special treat. The school also offers quarterly rewards of recess and a popsicle, movies in the gym, or staff talent and lip sync shows. For students who have had an all green year, meaning no trouble at all, they are rewarded with a trip to the movies and popcorn.
The school is also building morale of students by starting a program called “posi-grams.” Each week, teachers are sending little notes home with their students that highlight something special the teacher noticed about the student that week. The notes are to remind students that teachers appreciate and are proud of them, while engaging parents in what happens in the classroom.
Doug Poage also addressed attendees, informing them of an upcoming staged scenario with local emergency medical personnel, the Portsmouth Fire Department and local law enforcement agencies. The staff will receive training on how to react and what to do in the event of an active-shooter scenario or other emergency. It will take place on Oct. 20, during a waiver day, no students will be involved.
The next Portsmouth Educational Forum is slated for a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 8-9:30 a.m.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.