Time for Barnet School Behavioral Climate Change

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barnetschoolBARNET- After a mandatory 7th and 8th grade parent meeting last Thursday night at the Barnet School, the principal and administration worked together to create a new behavioral plan.


The school will be bring back "Planning rooms", says principal Shawn Gonyaw. "A planning room is a place where we have a person who will be in a designated area, and if a student's behavior gets to be to the point where it interrupts the learning or other students, it will be a step for students to go. So, a student can go, take the work they need to do to the planning room, complete their work, and they plan for how they will come back and be successful in the future." He adds that if a student is sent to the planning room, it is likely they will stay there for the rest of the period.

Gonyaw also said that the behavior problem may not be as wide spread as people may think, and that it is impacting a select few students. For these students, the school is looking at finding an external youth services professional to come in and provide aid that is not currently offered. Gonyaw says, they are looking at "an alternative in-district program where we would then call Northeast Kingdom Youth Services, and they're willing to work with us. To get around some of the kids who have tricky behaviors that are a little bit above our expertise's in this building."

The parents of a student who has struggle with behavioral problems explained at Thursdays meeting that if it wasn't for the hard work of the Barnet School, their child would not be getting the help he needs today. Another parent added that she has never had a problem with the school, and that if there was an issue she could work it out with the principal, and that this has to be a select a few students.

It has still been enough of an issue to force out not only students due to bullying, but teachers as well. Only six days into his first full-time teaching job, Steven Brewster resigned after witnessing teachers struggling to deal with poor student behavior. "It wasn't that I was dealing with a tough child. Or a tough group of children. I have seen that before. What I haven't seen before is the lack of power to be able to do something about it in manner in which I feel is fear and less disruptive to the classroom."

Currently the school has a tiered system that starts with a time out in the back of the room. Mr. Brewster thinks for Middle School students this a laughable punishment. "They look forward to that, if that means they can go to the back of the room and not do anything and participate, than they are happy with that. So to me that's a completely ineffective strategy for Middle School students." Brewster hopes that the new plans set in place work, and that the administration keeps their promise for the sake of the students' education. Until the next School Board meeting, the board will be getting weekly updates on how things are going at the school. Superintendent Mathew Forest has been asked by the parents of the Barnet School to visit the classrooms to see first hand what is really happening. Both of these are to insure that the board has full understanding of the situation before making any decisions on what to do.