Five Schools in WCS District Recognized for Positive Behavior Programs

Published Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 10:52 am

From left are Joan Ward, Lee Carter, Randy Bentley, Emily Nolte, Sue Walker, and Karla Lerner.

Bethel School, Blowing Rock School, Parkway School, Valle Crucis School, and Watauga High School have won recognition from the NC Department of Public Instruction for the high quality of their Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) programs.

Bethel, Blowing Rock, and Watauga High School achieved Exemplar School status for their programs while Parkway and Valle Crucis won recognition as Model Schools.

“We’re extremely proud of the excellent results and state recognition achieved by our PBIS team in the Watauga County Schools,” remarked Dr. Michael Marcela, director of exceptional children programs for WCS. “The success of this program is a tribute to the hard work and sustained commitment of the personnel at each participating school and of our PBIS Coordinator Karla Lerner.

Principals, teachers and teacher assistants, school social workers and school counselors, office personnel, and school custodians all have important roles to play in making the system work for our students and they are clearly performing those roles very well.”

Lerner commented that “in a time when education is more important than ever, keeping students engaged and on track in school is a high priority for educators. PBIS has proven to be a valuable tool in focusing our attention on ways to support student success. We look forward to continuing to refine the program and devising new ways to make it work even better for our students.”

The Watauga County Schools began implementation of PBIS in 2004 and was one of the first five districts in the state to employ the system. PBIS is a team-based, school-wide approach aimed at reducing problem behaviors and improving student achievement. It requires schools to develop a shared understanding of school rules and appropriate behaviors and to give students direct, systematic instruction about those rules and behaviors. The system emphasizes rewarding positive behaviors to reinforce appropriate conduct.

Since more of the contact between students and school personnel becomes positive under this approach, it also improves the school climate. A key feature of PBIS is that all school personnel, not just teachers, work together to apply rules consistently and to respond appropriately to both positive and problem behaviors by students.

While the basic model and concepts of PBIS are constant, each school has the ability to tailor the program to suit the specific needs of their students and faculty.

More information about the NC PBIS Initiative and its state recognition program is available online at

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