Abington Heights to stress positive behavior at elementary schools

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
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CLARKS SUMMIT — Clarks Summit and Waverly Elementary School Principal Bridget Frounfelker outlined goals for the district’s elementary schools during a school board meeting March 21.

“One of the first things we did in the 2017-18 school year was implement Fundations in kindergarten and first grade in the general education classrooms of all four elementary schools,” Frounfelker said. “It’s a multi-sensory structured language program that uses research based strategies and materials. It was implemented in addition to our thematic units at Abington Heights and in conjunction with our English, Language, Arts curriculum.”

According to Frounfelker, the program is based on the foundational skills of phonetic awareness, phonics and word study, high frequency word study, reading fluency, vocabulary, comprehension strategies, handwriting and spelling.

Frounfelker added the next goal at the elementary level is a Schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support System.

“In the fall of 2017, Dr. (Amy) Thomas and I wrote a grant and Abington Heights received $10,000 which provided funds to train our faculty and staff members in the program, and to purchase materials that are critical for the implementation in the next school year.”

Per Frounfelker, a school-wide positive behavior team has been developed at each elementary school in the district.

“We looked for teacher volunteers and we’re very fortunate to have excellent teachers who jumped right on board,” she said. “We have classroom teachers, guidance counselors, special education teachers, building aides and parent representatives. We’re trying to get a comprehensive representation of our school community.

“Our focus is on teaching children how to behave and celebrating their success. We’re trying to increase the positivity of our school climate. Kids are extremely adaptable and I think they will buy in. One indicator of success would be a reduction in disciplinary referrals. Another will be how kids respond when we ask them to do something.”

The third goal for the elementary school is the implementation of a Student Assistance Program (SAP).

“This year, it’s mandatory to have in the elementary schools,” Frounfelker said. “We created a SAP team in each building, comprised of the principal, SAP trained faculty members, a mental health representative and a drug and alcohol representative.”

According to Frounfelker, the teams have been meeting monthly and the program has been in the middle school and high school for a long time at Abington Heights.

“If a child or their family needs some sort of support, we have a vehicle to try to help them get it,” Frounfelker said.

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By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.