Learning to give back may not be a part of any school system’s required curriculum, but that hasn’t stopped staff members over the last three years at Midway Middle School from helping their students develop the skills needed to be a part of a community which gives.
For the third year, students from Midway Middle School visited Autumn Winds Nursing Home in Roseboro as part of the school’s efforts to enforce positive behavior within the students, teaching them the importance of giving to others who are in need.
“We were able to bless the seniors in our community with ornaments, gift bags donated by the Junior Beta Club, singing of Christmas songs, communicating with them, and beautification of the nursing home grounds,” Robin Marley, ISS Coordinator at Midway Middle said.
According to Amy McMahon, assistant principal at Midway Middle, the students were taking part in student service projects, designed as a portion of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) system, used by the school as a proactive approach to school-wide discipline.
McMahon, who said positive behavior and school climate are priority goals at Midway Middle, stated that the implementation of PBIS in the school is a proven way to ensure the school accomplishes those goals.
“Students were allowed to visit the nursing home and help brighten the day of the elderly people,” Marley said. “Some students had never experienced a nursing home visitation and this opened their eyes to how some are never visited and are alone.”
The students, who are in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, visited with the residents of the nursing facility in an effort to bring Christmas cheer, singing Christmas carols, delivering gifts and working on the facility’s grounds to improve the look.
“This initiative is meant to reinforce the positive behaviors of students doing what is expected of them as well as supporting students who need extra assistance to reach the school-wide expectations of being respectful and responsible,” McMahon noted.
During their visit to the school, the students presented the residents with handmade Christmas ornaments, bags filled with goodies, sang Christmas carols and worked on the facility’s grounds to clean up the area and spruce up the outside with flowers.
“While many faculty and students may have assumptions of what is expected behavior, we cannot assume that everyone’s beliefs are similar,” McMahon said. “Through PBIS, we will work to create and maintain an environment in which all school community members have clear expectations and understandings of their role in the educational process.”
According to McMahon, the Jr. Beta Club students were also a part of the school’s efforts to spread cheer to the Autumn Winds residents. The BETA Club members assembled gift bags filled with toiletry items and sent them to be given out. They also made Christmas cards for the residents.
Staff members at Midway Middle have been working all semester on helping the students develop leadership skills, so they may take those skills into their community and utilize them in a positive way. The students meet weekly in groups and are given instruction in the development of those skills.
“PBIS is truly a win-win program for all involved,” McMahon stated. “Our expectation is that we can keep the excitement going year after year. We are consistently defining teaching, reinforcing, and monitoring positive behaviors.”
McMahon said as an assistant principal she often has to call home with the negative behavior reports, but admits, calling home with the positive behavior reports is just as important.
With the success of last year’s event, McMahon and Marley said participating this year was a no-brainer.
“We loved how the students interacted with the seniors last year and we wanted this new group of students to experience it as well,” Destiny Fullwood said. “By helping share love during this time of the year, was not only beneficial to the patients living in the facility, but also to the students who now have a better appreciation on life and servitude.”
Marley would agree.
“We feel this is an excellent opportunity to teach the children the importance of giving back to our community and to the generation that worked so hard for many years to build the community in which we live,” Marley said. “The students walk away feeling blessed to have put a smile on the faces of the residents through their Christmas carols, gift bags and one on one interaction while visiting with them as a group and individually.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.