BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — PENDLETON — It was a lot of dirt to move. But the small group of Starpoint Middle School students didn’t seem to mind.
Their job was to fill a hole dug in order to plant a tree on school property. The tree, a celebration maple, will grow in front of the school’s parking lot, next to the flagpole.
It didn’t take the four students, Renee Edbauer, Aaron Viele, Samantha Spatarico and Luke Kenyon, very long to fill the hole. The group finished their project in a matter of minutes Monday afternoon in honor of Earth Day.
The planting was done in conjunction with Starpoint’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program. PBIS, or Starpower as it is referred to it at Starpoint Middle School, is a proactive approach for creating and maintaining safe and effective learning environments in school.
Kelly Preisch, the sixth grade counselor at Starpoint, said PBIS reinforces and models the social and emotional skills needed to ensure success in school and beyond. It’s the second year the program has been in effect.
Students, teachers and adminstration are behind the program, science teacher Brent Wasylenko said.
“It’s going well, it’s really taken off,” he said.
The foundation of the PBIS approach is teaching students the behaviors that are expected of them, reminding them to use those behaviors, acknowledge them when they do and correcting them when they do not, Preisch said.
Those who are noticed doing the right thing are rewarded with Starbucks, not the popular coffee but tickets that can be redeemed for special things, such as Monday’s planting.
“We want them to be caught doing good things,” Preisch said.
Those students who wanted to participate in the planting turned their Starbucks in last week for a chance to help plant the tree. The names of those who would participate in the planting were drawn last Wednesday.
Wasylenko said Starpoint is reviewing the results of the program to see how much of an impact PBIS is making. The long-term goal is to branch out to the community, by having students active in Pendleton and the four other towns within the Starpoint district - Wheatfield, Lockport, Royalton and Cambria.
Earth Day is an annual holiday, started in 1970, held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.