‘Tootles’ and ‘spleems’ among PCS teaching tools

By Belinda M. Paschal - bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com

PIQUA — “Tootles” and “spleems” were a topic of discussion during the Piqua City Schools Board of Education meeting on Thursday, as Washington Primary School Principal Tracy Trogdlon gave the board an update on student achievement.

These terms do not derive from an extraterrestrial language the children are learning, but rather from the PAX Good Behavior Game, which is being used in the school — along with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) — to teach students how to self-regulate and co-regulate and earn rewards for appropriate behaviors. “Tootles” are positive notes that can be given to one student from another, to a student from a staff member, and to staff member from another. Conversely, “spleems” describe disruptive, inattentive behavior.

Rewards for positive behaviors, especially “RRK” — Respect, Responsibility, Kindness — include “Pride cards,” with different awards given for each increment of 10 cards.

“It really builds the kids up trying to earn these cards,” Trogdlon said.

As Washington focuses on the “whole child” this year, Trogdlon explained that staff is continuing to focus on academics, e.g., balanced literacy, social/emotional growth — in which PAX and PBIS are tools, as well as service groups like K-Kids — and wellness.

In the area of literacy, students read and write every day, building stamina so that they will be able to read and write for increasingly longer time as the year progresses, and charting their stamina as it grows. Reading workshops, partnered and independent reading and other practices are used to help students toward their literacy goals.

Wellness includes physical activities like Race Day, Motivational Monday and Go Noodle!, the last of which gives kids a quick break to get up and move around in order to get re-energized before returning to their lessons.

Also in the area of student achievement, Superintendent Dwayne Thompson reviewed the district’s recently released state report card, its areas of success, like Value Added, in which the district received all A’s, and the areas that present challenges, e.g., attendance.

Thompson noted that the district’s absenteeism rate is more than 10 percent, putting PCS in the “chronic” range. Early intervention efforts are continuing to impress the importance of attendance and timeliness upon students and their parents.

“If they’re missing (school), it’s more than just making up the work; they’re missing important communication and collaboration opportunities,” Thompson said.

Though the district received a B in the Graduation component, Thompson said that area nonetheless presents a challenge. He listed several reasons that a student might not graduate including attendance issues; insufficient credits; expulsion; transient; maternity/child care; and others. Still, he said, there are those determined students who persevere, even if it means completing high school in five years rather than four.

Thompson also cited the state’s recently launched Each Child Our Future,a five-year strategic plan for education. Co-designed over the last year by parents, educators, employers, philanthropic leaders, policymakers and students, the plan seeks to lift aspirations, guide development of state-level policies and promote quality education practices across the state.

Tying into the aforementioned “whole child” concept, Each Child Our Future aims to give students tools for success that will last beyond their years in the educational system. A full copy of the plan can be found at https://bit.ly/2GoewvE.

In new business, a bid of $148,016.37 from Ticon Paving was approved for the Piqua City Schools Board of Education parking lot project. The work will entail expanding the lot between the 215 Looney Road building’s south side and Garbry Road.

The next meeting of the PCS Board of Education will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the board office. BOE meetings can be viewed online at www.piqua.org/Boxcast.aspx.

By Belinda M. Paschal


Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341