Ask any current or former Indian Lake Elementary student about the Laker Zone and they’ll recite to you this pledge:
”In my life, I can do anything that helps others and myself learn, keeps others and myself safe, is helpful to others and myself.’
ILES students and staff members say it each day at the conclusion of morning announcements. Now the positive behavior effort has earned ILES state recognition, educators reported to the Indian Lake Board of Education during the November regular meeting.
Fifteen years ago, Lakeview Elementary educator Tod Scarpella implemented the Laker Zone after attending a poverty conference centered around building a positive school culture. The Laker Zone continued as Lakeview and Huntsville Schools combined to form Indian Lake Elementary, even after Mr. Scarpella retired. In 2016, Indian Lake Schools received Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) grants from the state for each building. Third grade teacher Pam Scarpella, Tod’s wife and the facilitator of the ILES PBIS Team, explains they used the grant to reintroduce, reshape and reinforce the Laker Zone code of conduct to extend past the classrooms to the hallways, the cafeteria, the buses and beyond.
Scarpella says educators were excited for the reboot. “The Laker Zone is easy for teachers to customize in their own classrooms, depending on the grade level and the students. You especially want to reinforce any good behaviors you see in kids who normally struggle in that area.”
In the past two years, the PBIS Team trained more staff members and added new interventions. They created Laker Zone Cards that teachers can hand out to students who are exhibiting desired behaviors. Students who receive cards can sign the Laker Zone Wall of Fame Scroll in the ILES main hallway. The team also hung Laker Zone posters that clearly spell out behavior expectations throughout the campus. They kept the tradition of handing out t-shirts during quarterly Laker Zone assemblies, but added “Zone Buster” videos starring staff members changing their behaviors to fit into the Laker Zone.
PBIS team member and Principal Jeff Reprogle says since the Laker Zone revitalization, office referrals for behavior problems have been reduced.
He comments, “We don’t punish a student if he or she doesn’t read well. We teach them to read. Behavior should be approached no differently than academics.”
Experts agree. This summer ILES PBIS Team members presented the Laker Zone program during a Region 6 PBIS Workshop with several other schools. Their work, documentation, and results have earned them a State Bronze Award for PBIS Success. The team will present Laker Zone data and receive their award at the Ohio Department of Education PBIS Showcase in November.
ILES PBIS Team members are: Pam Scarpella, Jeff Reprogle, Suzy Mallory, Justin Welker, Kristen Soos, Tracy Whitlow, Alyssa James, Lisa Reese, Jill Young and Teresa Coughlin.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.