A time of good cheer


By Chris Mortensen - Principal, Greenville Middle School



We have so many blessings to be thankful for each year. This year is one that we have more to be thankful for than we could ever imagine. Sometimes the good things are hidden in the fog of all the other things that are occurring around us and we have to be able to look past this to see how much we really have that is truly a blessing. We often tend to focus on the negative things around us that seem to stand out and dominate all that we do. It is often nice to step back, let the fog lift and point out the positives that surround us.

The Middle School PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) team has faced particular challenges in finding ways to celebrate these accomplishments and successes this past year. The team meets monthly and this year their challenge stemmed around trying to offer supports for students and staff in the face of the pandemic and the stipulations surrounding contact surfaces, social distancing and contact tracing that has been a guide in all we do for the past 10 months. The team needed to look at our system to incorporate changes, and in some cases, abandon what we had done in the past. Assemblies would not work and having common rewards that students would be able to pick from seemed problematic due to so many students coming in contact with these items daily. The team needed to find ways to recognize the wave spirit yet, avoid these health risk factors, and several methods were identified.

The team was determined to recognize our students and staff and to aim efforts at building Middle School morale while placing an emphasis on academics. The first steps were how to replace the rewards that students had been able to select from in the past. The team determined that they would begin providing individually wrapped rewards for students to be recognized weekly based on students upholding aspects of what it means to be a “Wave”. The team used the rewards and placed these in an envelope for students stating why they were being recognized. This was introduced to the students through the morning announcements along with what students needed to do in order to be considered for recognition. These included keeping their lockers cleaned and organized, entering and exiting the building in a safe manner without running or shoving and of course maintaining the proper use of masks and social distancing following the COVID 19 regulations of Mask Up, Back Up, and Wash Up. Students would receive the rewards for their accomplishments and would come up to administration commenting, “Look Mr. Mortensen, I was recognized for keeping my locker clean and organized. This is awesome!” The student held up his envelope and exited the building commenting that he couldn’t wait to let his parents know he was recognized.

The second recognition method involved students at each grade level being recognized by the staff for special accomplishment around the building. These students are selected as our students of the month. They get recognized in the board reports, newsletters and they earn the right to have extended recess and lunch privileges for themselves and three of their friends that they get to choose. They are provided the extra time and given a seat of honor with their friends in the cafeteria. This one takes a step further and also recognizes the staff member who nominated the winners. These staff members also get a choice of reward including either an extended lunch with the administration arranging coverage of their Wave time on a date of their choosing or they can turn in their reward for lunch on the administration from the restaurant of their choosing…locally of course.

The third recognition for student accomplishment places a focus on academics. We have not finalized this for the building, but is one that we are excited to get into place. We owe this opportunity to the generosity and support of a couple of groups for the Greenville Middle School. The school with the assistance of The Greenville School Foundation Teacher Grant has supplied funds to purchase a 5-8 book vending machine that will allow students to earn rewards in the form of tokens for this machine. Students exemplifying what it means to be a GreenWave will be recognized and earn tokens, which will allow them to use the tokens to obtain a book of their choosing from the vending machine at no cost to the students. The PTA will discuss how they might support this effort as well, by supplying more tokens and books for the vending machine as we move forward.

The most recent recognition goes out for all students to be able to achieve and is connected to student accomplishment in academics. During December, students can earn a PBIS reward simply for doing their job as a GreenWave in completing their homework daily. Students who have no missing assignments during December through the eighteenth of the month will be eligible to earn a holiday treat, which includes entertainment provided through the school’s YouTube account for the last day of school before break. Another similar opportunity is being looked at for the end of the third quarter with students being able to attend a theater production being put on by our very own students in coordination with Mrs. Thompson the Middle School Theater advisor. We are excited to see what they have for us this year.

There are so many great things happening to recognize all of our students and staff and their accomplishments here at the Middle School. It is such a blessing to see the great things that students are doing throughout the building whether upholding the Wave way, showing positive behaviors as exemplified in the Seven Mindsets, or simply being recognized for accomplishments in completing all of their work through the month of December. The Greenville Middle School administration would like to thank those members of the PBIS team for their hard work in putting all of these recognition opportunities together for our students and staff. We would further like to thank the Greenville School’s Foundation for their support of our student’s academic success through the purchase of the 5-8 Book Vending Machine. Finally, a thank you to our PTA for support in our recognition efforts by supplying routine aid in funding, organization, and supporting a positive culture at the 5-8 Middle School. Thank you to all those involved in supporting our students and staff in these recognition efforts each year.

By Chris Mortensen

Principal, Greenville Middle School