Dayton Middle School staff tell parents fostering good behavior is important |

Dayton Middle School staff tell parents fostering good behavior is important

Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Appeal

More than 40 parents and students gathered at Dayton Intermediate School Wednesday evening to learn about Advisory period and the new House program.

For one hour, school staff outlined how Advisory is being used not only to provide time for homework, reading and remediation but to also build positive school relationships. The House concept creates a unit or “house,” each comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth-graders. It has been implemented this year to foster understanding, tolerance and cohesiveness among those peer groups.

Participants earn house points for modeling positive behavior and participating throughout their day.

Attendees were treated to a performance showcasing the merits of chivalry – courtesy and respect – given by students from Mrs. Crane’s drama class, as well as a rap video about proper bus behavior, also given by DIS students.

Another aspect of the curriculum is asset development – the focusing of those positive behaviors and attitudes, and shifting from negative to positive perspectives that generally make school more productive and fun for students.

“With the focus being on positive behavior, we see a rise in test scores, better behaviors and better school climate,” said teacher Mary Duggen.

“Also, those with more assets,” such as self-esteem, courage, helping others by volunteering, “are better able to say no to negative influences,” Duggen said.

Assistant principal Linda Flaherty explained how the root of the word “discipline” is “disciple,” a word that implies helping others. The first three weeks of school, DIS conducted a training camp to teach and reinforce what is expected from its students in the halls, during lunch, on buses and in assembly.

“This is new for us and has been introduced as part of the school improvement process,” Flaherty said, adding that while opening a door or greeting someone may sound small, “it really does make a difference.”

Students and parents co-created maps outlining the similarities and differences of their respective school experiences, then shared what they had learned.

“I want to point out that while we created (Family Night) to build communication between parents and the school, and parents and children,” Flaherty said, “what I’ve also seen is parent to parent communication, which is an unexpected benefit.”

Beginning in January, the school will begin implementing an anti-bullying curriculum.

Parents and students are encouraged to attend the next Family Night, which will explore math, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 15. Science will be discussed in December.

For details, contact the school at 246-6250.