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NR School Board approves behavior coach, 2018-2019 district goals

After a short presentation by District Administrator Patrick Olson, the New Richmond Board of Education approved the behavior coach memorandum of understanding/grant agreement with Westfields Hospital & Clinic along with the transfer of Alicia Kirkman to the newly formed position.

"The position fulfils a variety of needs for us as we look to this partnership and what fits the mission statement of Westfields Hospital & Clinic, but also our district, especially when we talk about RTI on the behavioral side of things," said Olson.

Although it started as a MOU between the district and Westfields, the agreement has morphed into a grant agreement, with the hospital agreeing to give the district $160,000 over two years to pay for the new position. The change was made because an MOU is an agreement with both parties giving something to the project. However, the hospital will be providing all the funds for the position, so a grant agreement made more sense.

"This has been done in other districts. It looks different in certain districts, with some of them going the social route. We feel this is a direct impact on our students themselves and it is very similar to the concept of our coaching model. This position will allow our teachers to teach and this person can talk about intervention strategies to help take these behaviors and provide some ideas to work with a child," Olson said.

According to the agreement, the district behavior coach will provide support to the classroom teacher in effective classroom management at the universal and targeted student levels. The coach will assist in the building-wide development of positive behavior support systems and the tracking of behavioral data at the building and district levels. The behavior coach will coordinate Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) and assist with the development and tracking of individual behavior plans. They will provide leadership and instruction in effective behavior management, understanding of mental health concerns and the impact of trauma.

The coach will have an office at Starr Elementary and will primarily work with students from kindergarten to eighth grade. However, the coach could also be pulled up to the high school if the need arose.

Kirkman is transferring from Hillside Elementary where she spent the last six years as a cross categorical teacher. According to Olson, Kirkman's thesis was written about behavior and the hiring committee really liked her as a candidate for the new position.

District goals

In addition, the board approved the 2018-2019 District Goals, which saw several changes and updates to focus on areas Olson and the board felt needed more attention.

The 2018-2019 goals include:

• Be recognized as a top 6 percent performing district as measured by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction's school accountability report card.

• Increase by five percentage points the number of students in third grade reading at the proficient/advanced level as measured by the Wisconsin Forward Exam.

• By grade at each building, increase by ten percentage points the number of students at or above the district target RIT or Aspire score in reading for 2018-2019 in grades 1-10.

• By grade at each building, increase by ten percentage points the number of students at or above the district target RIT or Aspire score in math for 2018-2018 in grades 1-10.

• Achieve an average composite score of 22 or higher on the spring 2019 ACT state assessment at grade 11.

The biggest changes came in the first goal, along with the addition of a fifth goal. The first goal saw a change in its wording to add in "top 6 percent" in the hopes of pushing the district to continue to improve, even though it has placed in the top 8 percent the past two years. Olson added that it was nice to be able to have a discussion about whether being in the top 6 percent was too lofty of a goal for the district, since most districts would be happy to be in the top 20 percent, let alone the top 10.

The second goal focuses on the district's reading proficiency. Olson said the district has been doing alright in that area, as shown by the annual report card from the state, but the numbers are not where they would like them to be. He stated that seeing improvements in the reading scores at the third grade level will hopefully increase scores about third grade as well.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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