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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Black River High School, in St. Elizabeth, on April 22, joined two other schools - Sydney Pagon STEM Academy and Lacovia High School - as institutions in the parish to launch the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) programme.
  • 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 PBIS Facilitator at the Education Ministry, Christine Buckley, says the programme is expected to play a major role in improving the social and inter-personal skills of not only the students, but teachers and other members of the Black River High school community.

Black River High School, in St. Elizabeth,  on April 22, joined two other schools – Sydney Pagon STEM Academy and Lacovia High School –  as institutions in the parish to launch the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) programme.

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.

There are a few important principles, such as every child can learn proper behavior; stepping in early can prevent more serious behaviour problems; every child is different and schools need to provide many kinds of behavioural support; how schools teach behaviour should be based on research and science; following a child’s behaviorral progress is important; and schools must gather and use data to make decisions about behaviour problems.

Principal of the school, Roderick Harley, in endorsing the PBIS, tells JIS News that the launch of the programme forms part of a strategy to correct some of the negatives which have affected the school in the past.

He says expectations from the programme are high and so far there has been total support from all the stakeholders.

“The students are sensitized about the desired behaviour and we are hoping that they will take them serious. We are moving in the right direction and we anticipate great things,” Mr. Harley tells JIS News.

The PBIS Facilitator at the Education Ministry,  Christine Buckley, says the programme is expected to play a major role in improving the social and inter-personal skills of not only the students, but teachers and other members of the Black River High school community.

“PBIS is here to stay. We are going to change Jamaica’s children one school at a time.  It is a good programme and the end result really is that we will have improved behaviour, which will impact our students’ performance,” she tells JIS News.

Coordinator of the programme at the school, Karen Strachan, says the school has embraced the PBIS and will be working with everyone to ensure its success.

She outlines some of the objectives of the programme at the school to include – to develop with the students, acceptable social skills and attitudes, so  they can function effectively in the society; to have students working at the highest standards possible, so as to achieve their academic goals;  and to involve all stakeholders in the educational process to arrive at a greater level of success.

Meanwhile, the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is also lending its support to the programme and President Karen Montaque says it is an initiative which has come at the right time to assist in moving Black River High School to unprecedented levels of discipline and academic excellence.

“Behaviour starts with each one of us and so when our behaviour pattern and attitude is changed, then we are heading forward for excellence. This programme will start a change at the Black River High School and the PTA is not only looking forward to that change, but is willing and has been working hand in hand to be a part of the process,” she tells JIS News.

Students at Black River High are also expressing their views on the positive impact which the PBIS will have on the institution.

“I think this is a very important programme, as it will help to enhance our behaviour and it will help the school to rise academically,”  says tenth grade student, Aleyah Whyte.

Senior Prefect and Fifth  form student, Kadian Robinson, says  “it is a very good promotion in supporting and implementing positive behaviour in our school.”

“I have seen where students are respecting each other more. If you look around the school you will see positive notices which have been posted and this will encourage the students to be more respectful and will aid in their academic development,” Kadian tells JIS News.

Sade Blackwood, a  ninth  grade student at the school, says the launch of the PBIS will contribute to students at the Black River High School behaving better.

“It will enhance our academic performance and help us to socialize well. Since the launch of the programme, students have been respecting teachers and their peers more. It’s a good look for Black River High School,” Sade adds.

Kennilois Gilpin, the school’s Deputy Head Girl, says the  PBIS programme has “rocketed this era of our students’ development into a positive and more interacting sphere.”

“This generation of students will go out into the world and prove that Black River High students have what it takes to be proper Jamaicans; how to stand up for what we believe in and do it well. We don’t have to use violence to solve problems anymore,” Kennilois says.

Black River High School, which operates on a shift system, has 1,840 students on roll and an academic staff of 98.