By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School is pushing a more positive behavior system, where instead of only focusing on the students who are doing something wrong, kids will be rewarded for making good choices.

The system, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), was brought to McNary by former assistant principal Jay Crystal. But new assistant principal Dan Borresen wants to take it to another level.

“It’s a system that takes several years to put into place and get kids to buy into,” Borresen said. “He (Crystal) started it and we’re just tweaking it and adjusting it and making it more school-wide. We’re going to really push those supports where kids can see it.”

Borresen and behavioral specialist Brad Emmert will do that by using ‘bold cards,” which are named after McNary’s mission statement of  “Bold enough to be the best educating, nurturing and inspiring.”

Staff will have the cards to be given to students they witness making good choices. The kid will then write their name on the card and turn it in for a monthly drawing.

“I’ve got a lot of businesses now that are supporting us with coupons, gift certificates and even money to buy some things for the kids,” Borresen said. “Our community is so supportive of this school. It’s amazing.”

A business or anyone wanting to donate to the bold card program can contact Borresen at 503-399-3233.

“We want to encourage our kids to be a part of our McNary family and be good people and help one another while they’re doing it,” Borresen said.

McNary also has a new option for students struggling with behavior—a new study area called the Celt Center.

“Instead of taking a kid that normally may have been in trouble or sent home, I’m not going to send them home,” Borresen said. “We’re going to get them in that room (Celt Center) and let them cool off and calm down and then we’re going to get them work from their teachers.”

Since many teachers use Google classroom, the Celt Center will be equipped with computers as well as an aide proficient in study skills.

“The system is designed not to get kids and remove kids from school,” Borresen said. “We want to keep them in a school setting for as long as we possibly can. There are times when a kid is going to make a series of choices that ends up getting them sent home but we want to do everything we possibly can to keep the kid engaged in classes.”

McNary staff has also been asked to try to understand what a student might be dealing with at home and build relationships and work with kids that traditionally they might have written referrals for.

Last school year, 2016-17, McNary cut its teacher referrals down from 649 to 405.

“This is teachers doing everything they can to keep the kid in class,” Borresen said. “Our staff has bought it. Because this is a lot of work, we’ve got 35 kids in a class and a young woman or young man who’s really struggling to follow directions. That’s asking a lot of them. Teachers already I think get asked to do too much but the fact that they were able to do everything they can says a lot about how good our staff is. Our staff is amazing.”