Shiloh Middle School creates positive school environment with unique and fun programs
March 11, 2019
Shiloh Middle School has been working to create a welcoming and positive environment this school year, with several initiatives and programs designed to encourage and inspire students.
First off, the school started an attendance competition to promote a healthy school attendance in each homeroom.
“Our goal is to promote the importance of school attendance and create conversations in the classrooms,” Shiloh Principal Andy Suttell shared. “At each grade level, there are weekly homeroom winners for the best attendance and they keep a trophy for the week. We announce it every Monday morning and the kids get really excited in their homerooms when they win it.”
The initiative started in November, and Suttell said he has noticed more teachers emphasizing the importance of good school attendance and even students encouraging their peers to attend so their homeroom can win.
Another big focus for the building has been on PBIS, or Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.
“We have what we like to call Recognizing Awesomeness,” Suttell explained. “So whenever students are caught being good, we announce it at lunch and the student gets a candy bar with certificate. We also put those names up in the cafeteria and they get a positive phone call home.”
He added that this little recognition goes a long way and has been well received by both students and parents alike.
“It’s amazing how the parents react when we call,” Suttell said with a laugh. “They think we are calling for something negative, but when I tell them that it’s good and I read to them why their child was recognized by a staff member, it’s always really positive.”
The school also implemented monthly incentives for students based on their behavior.
Suttell said the school looks at every 20 to 25 school days for students who stay referral and detention free. For those who qualify, they can participate in an event or receive an incentive for their good behavior.
“We had ‘Splat The Staff’ one month where kids who had no referrals or detentions could come into the auditorium and throw some pies at staff members,” he shared. “We had a hot chocolate bar at Christmas time, we’ve had raffles where we gave away things like Cavs tickets, and the latest incentive was students were able to earn homework passes each week.”
In addition to PBIS, Shiloh staff and administration have continued the school’s advocacy program.
“The advocacy program is where within each team, each student is paired with one of their team teachers as their advocate,” Suttell described. “Teams are using advocacy differently, but it’s just a way to make a personal connections and possibly help motivate students and help them feel safer and more comfortable at school. It’s definitely a program we want to continue to grow.”
A positive change that came out of advocacy was student-led conferences, he added.
“This is where students plan their conference and try to take some ownership in their learning,” Suttell shared. “Some of the advocates had their students prepare PowerPoints for their parents and they lead the discussions about how they are doing in school.”
Overall, Shiloh administration and staff believe these programs and incentives will build resilient learners, help address the social-emotional needs of students, and promote proper behavior and student achievement.
“We want to increase student instructional time and decrease those behaviors that remove students from classrooms as much as possible,” Suttell expressed. “These efforts that we have in place are reaching our kids, and for many of them, these little things mean something to them and are helping to motivate them.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Shiloh principal Andy Suttell reacts after getting pied in the face by a student, as part of the “Splat the Staff” initiative. This positive incentive program allows students who are detention and referral free the opportunity to throw pies at staff members as a reward for good behavior in the school.