• JIS News

    Story Highlights

    • The programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, which is aimed at establishing the behavioural support and social culture needed for all students to achieve social, emotional and academic success.
    • “When there is violence, it disrupts the teaching and learning environment, and put it on pause for a while, as such, if we do not create a culture of safe school, if we do not have safe environment; then it becomes increasingly difficult for teachers and students to operate,” the ASP tells JIS News.
    • Principal of the school, Mr. Roderick Harley says teachers and students at the institution have been sensitized, as well as community members, and “we believe that this programme can serve to change what is happening here in a positive way.”

    Officials at the Albert Town High School are reporting a decrease in anti-social activities, and an increase in the academic performance of students, since the implementation of the Positive Behavioural Intervention and Support (PBIS) programme at the institution.

    The programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, which is aimed at establishing the behavioural support and social culture needed for all students to achieve social, emotional and academic success.

    The initiative was implemented at the Trelawny based institution during the Summer Term of 2015.

    Dean of Discipline at the school, Philip Mensah said since the commencement of the programme there has been a remarkable decrease in bad behaviour, over a five month period.

    “In September, we had 45 incidents, in October, it was reduced to 37, in November, it came down to 27, and in December, we only recorded 12,” he stated.

    He was addressing an Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) forum, held recently at the Versalles Hotel, in May Pen, Clarendon.

    The Dean also credited the programme for increased academic performances at the institution.

    “At the beginning of the term, Grade seven had a 35 per cent average, which went up to 56 per cent. For Grade eight, they had 45 per cent (average), and that also increased to 55 per cent,” Mr. Mensah said.

    He added that Grade nine saw an increase in academic performance from 34 per cent to 44 per cent, while Grade 10 experienced an increase from a 35 per cent average to 38 per cent.

    With academic successes in four of the five grades, Mr. Mensah said, it was an encouragement to stick with the initiative, as more improvements will come.

    For his part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the success at the institution, showed that once there is a vision, and input from crucial stakeholders, schools can be transformed.

    “It is a great success story, and we want to encourage other schools to adopt this initiative. It shows that with vision, and the collaboration of all stakeholders, we can always transform our schools. Congratulations to Albert Town high,” the Minister said in an interview with JIS News at the forum.

    The programme is operating in 50 high schools and so far 1800 teachers from across the island have been trained to work with the initiative.
    The PBIS is a collaborative effort with the Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS), and aims to create a healthy learning environment through organized evidence-based interventions, by targeting specialized training for principals, vice principals, deans of discipline, guidance counsellors, teachers, and ancillary staff.

    Under the Albert Town high school model, students are encouraged to only take busses that play positive music and students are rewarded when they prevent a fight and, when they assist in returning stolen items.

    Rewards are also given for reporting persons who destruct school property, and for performing outstanding deeds.
    For each good deed, students receive points, which can be accumulated to them becoming the Rich Ambassador for the school.
    “Students are behaving quite well. They are disposing garbage properly, and not destroying school property,” 2015 Rich Ambassador at the Albert Town high School, Tiandra Lewis said.

    She said getting the award was a proud moment to know that her positive behaviour stood out.

    “I feel good, I am not the brightest, but I am being highlighted, acknowledged and I am proud of myself,” the budding Forensic Pathologist shared with JIS News.

    Meanwhile, Director of Safety and Security in Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Coleridge Minto, said through various fora, the PBIS is taken to parents, to ensure that they understand its importance.

    “When there is violence, it disrupts the teaching and learning environment, and put it on pause for a while, as such, if we do not create a culture of safe school, if we do not have safe environment; then it becomes increasingly difficult for teachers and students to operate,” the ASP tells JIS News.

    Black River High School, in St. Elizabeth, is the latest school to implement the programme.

    Principal of the school, Mr. Roderick Harley says teachers and students at the institution have been sensitized, as well as community members, and “we believe that this programme can serve to change what is happening here in a positive way.”