A school discipline intervention organization has awarded Betsy Ross and Garfield elementary schools the second-highest award available for student behavior this year.  

Midwest Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) honored the schools with its Gold Award.

Betsy Ross Principal Bill Milnamow said the school received the award for “following PBIS protocol, encouraging kids to always work to do better in a positive way. If a student misbehaves in class, warning that they made a mistake and thinking about what can we do to make it better. Taking the moment to have that conversation really eliminates 99 percent of further disciplinary action. The kids knowing that it’s OK to make a mistake, get better from there and move forward.” 

Garfield Principal Jamie Stauder was unable to comment on the recent award. The highest award schools can receive from Midwest PBIS is Platinum. 

Last school year, Milnamow said only 10 students were referred to the school’s main office, which he said was a decrease from the year before. He was unsure what the disciplinary numbers looked like the year before. 

“It’s failing to follow the teacher’s directions, supposed to do something then refuse to do it after multiple attempts, then they come to see me,” Milnamow said. “There were no physical alterations or cheating or bullying or anything like that.”

The year before, he said, Betsy Ross received the Silver certification, which is what Forest Park Middle School, Field-Stevenson Intermediate Elementary School and Grant White Elementary all received this year. Silver is the third-best certification schools can receive, out of four. 

Milnamow credited the increase this year to better data collection and greater staff training and understanding of the program. 

“It’s recognition to the staff for the good job they’re doing, to the students for the good job they’re doing, and also to the parents for their help making school a nice place to be,” he said.  

Nona Tepper