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Donegal Schools Push Innovative Methods

Presentations and videos on Donegal Intermediate School and Donegal High School using innovative approaches to teaching were given and shown to the Donegal school board of Directors at its monthly meeting.

Clare Reich, principal of Donegal Intermediate School, shared about an innovative program there.

“Two years ago, Dr. (J. Michael) Lausch challenged our leadership team to think of the skills and characteristics our students should have when they walk across the stage at graduation,” Reich said at the meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14. “At DIS, we’re the foundational blocks to that walk across the graduation pathway.”

Reich spoke about a DIS program called PBIS — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — which acknowledges positive behavior and supports students as they grow in their behavioral skills.

“The skills are the kinds of things that our 21st century businesses are looking for our students to gain. Skills like perseverance, awareness, dealing with failure, sticking to problem solving,” Reich said.

Aura Heisey, assistant principal of Donegal High School, said students had been focusing on the “four Cs” — Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Creativity.

“But this summer when we went into our planning as leadership team, we really felt like something was missing. So we createdthis vision together. Our vision at DHS is tograduate students who

are creative and connected critical thinkers, communicators and collaborators,” Heisey said.

She said “Connected” is the fifth C, concentrating on building a strong foundation with the students, each other and the community.

“Research tells us, and we know that when we connect with kids, sometimes it’s that one positive connection with one person that can make that difference between that student being successful or failing,” Heisey said. “So if we want to support all of our students getting to the highest level, you know, of their academics which we know that they can get to, we have to have a strong foundation — and both the corners of that foundation are, you know, social and emotional health and then behavioral skills.”

She said in order to

build connectivity, educators at DHS are working on PBIS, restorative practices and student groups.

The next meeting of the Donegal school board is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.

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