Fort Frye BOE talks bullying

BEVERLY – In an era of increased awareness and action to combat bullying in schools, the Fort Frye Local Schools Board of Education discussed the district’s two behavior and anti-bullying programs affecting kindergarten through 12th grade students at its board meeting Monday.

The state-created Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) for elementary schools and the Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Plan for K-12 will be implemented and further updated going into the 2014-2015 school year.

The goal of both systems is to prevent and address behavioral and bullying issues in the schools, a system that school principals say will help create a school environment in which all Fort Frye students feel safe and comfortable.

“This is about teaching them to be the kind of person someone wants to be around,” said Superintendent Stephanie Starcher.

The committee to create the systems is made up of elementary and high school administrators.

PBIS is a color-coded behavior system that will continue at Beverly-Center Elementary School for the second year and will be officially implemented at Salem-Liberty and Lowell elementaries next year.

“The goals are to provide supportreduce existing behavior problems, prevent development of new behaviors and reduce the number of negative distractions and increase instruction time,” said Krista Ross, principal of Lowell and Salem-Liberty elementaries.

The system starts students on a “starting green” color and rewards and punishes them based on behavior, which Megan Miller, principal of Beverly-Center Elementary, said is focused on enforcing and encouraging positive behavior rather than simply reacting to negative behavior.

For all grades and all four schools, the district has updated its own A-HIB plan, which is designed to create a consistent process in which to address bullying issues, including a six-step procedure for staff to address the bully and the victim.

“Our administrators and teachers know our children better than anyone, so it’s a positive step,” said Board President Charlie Schilling. “The last thing parents want to hear is that there’s been a bullying episode in one of our schools and it’s been overlooked.”

The system will include two student-wide surveys to help target where issues are occurring, regular classroom meetings, parent information brochures and a bully referral system so that actions can be addressed at the appropriate level.

The board also approved the hire of a new assistant principal for Fort Frye High School.

Andy Schob, 46, of Vincent, who recently finished his four-year stint as the head coach of the Warren High School football team, was hired as the FFHS assistant principal for a beginning salary of $63,654 a year plus benefits going into the 2014-2015 school year.

Schob will take on the position to replace assistant principal Beth Brown, whose resignation will take effect at the end of July.

“I’m getting more excited each day,” Schob said. “I’m from the Fort Frye area, so I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

Also joining Fort Frye is Erika Miller, who will start at Lowell Elementary next year as a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher with a starting salary of $30,015 a year.