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Edison, JCBDD Partner for Pilot Project

Edison Local Schools and the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities are teaming up for a new pilot project aimed at helping students with behavioral and socialization issues.

BASIC, or Behavior and Socialization Integration Classroom, was started this year and currently helps students in Edison schools with a variety of issues. Superintendent Bill Beattie said he and JCBDD Superintendent Michael Zinno discussed ways they could assist those students in need and developed a role for Maureen Kaufmann, a longtime teacher at the School of Bright Promise, to provide support.

“Maureen pulls all the kinds in for a small group or one-on-one sessions. The goal is for those students to go back into the classroom and work on intervention and supports to incorporate them daily into the classroom,” Beattie explained. “She also tries to give teachers strategies and intervention they’ve been working on [to assist with their practices].”

Beattie said the project has been fruitful, and leaders initially targeted at least 25-30 students but have since tripled that number with 79 currently receiving assistance.

“There are many kids benefitting from the service so far and hopefully we can extend it another year,” Zinno added. “The superintendents get together at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center each month and sometimes we talk about needs we can fulfill. That’s how this came about. It’s not necessarily a child with behavioral issues; it’s a child with behavioral challenges we can help. It can be a child with trauma or one who is not necessarily eligible for the BDD program, but one who could benefit from the concept of positive behavioral supports.”

Kaufmann, an intervention specialist who spent eight years teaching in the intermediate unit at the School of Bright Promise, currently works with students in grades PreK-12 who are at risk, have trouble academically or with behaviors or family situations. She divides her time between Stanton and John Gregg Elementary Schools and Edison High and said her work is wide-ranging.

“The BASIC program was a brainstorm between Mr. Beattie and Mr. Zinno because they wanted to get services for students who are at risk. I observe the students, talk to teachers and try to implement supports for students, teachers and families. We’re a wraparound service.”

She spends her time assisting with individual education plans, or IEP’s, doing behavior plans, implementing Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions and working with students and teachers to meet needs within the classroom. Kaufmann collaborates with Diana Morello of State Support Team Region 12 (SST-12) and District Literacy Specialist Miguel Brun on the PBIS supports and also devises strategies to benefit both teachers and pupils. With the latter, the trio devises plans to take PBIS strategies and incorporate them into a model classroom setting at the elementary schools.

“The teachers are working hard to implement the strategies I give them and the administration is behind us, plus the principals are doing a positive job of implementing it. The teachers want their students to be successful and there’s lots of positive reinforcement that we are doing,” she said.

Students are generally referred through teachers and guidance counselors and she collaborates with ENGAGE, a program through the Ohio Family and Children First Council, while additional resources have been provided by the Jefferson County Community Action Council and Coleman Professional Services. Kaufmann has even referred families to Help Me Grow for early intervention for support, as well as homeless shelters, the United Way of Jefferson County, therapy and social services. Additionally, she has worked to get sensory items for kids with autism and sensory perception as well as materials to soothe hyperactive students, including weighted blankets and calming corners.

“Whatever need they have, we work to fulfill it,” she added. “[I refer them to] different agencies for different supports.”

Since the pilot project’s inception, Kaufmann has noticed a distinct change for the better.

“We’ve seen improvements in student behavior and you hear a lot more positive reinforcement. We try to celebrate what we want to change and acknowledge good behavior. I’ve seen a change in the climate. It’s really positive and I think the principals should be proud of themselves.”

Moreover, Beattie attributed the success to Kaufmann’s diligence and hoped to see the benefits continue.

“Maureen has been a very positive influence for the district, not only for bringing in strategies for intervention and socialization, but she’s also brought in community services,” he concluded. “Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports have been incorporated into classrooms and we’re excited to see how it will develop.”

(Photo Cutline: Intervention specialist Maureen Kaufmann is playing an active role in the Behavior and Socialization Integration Classroom (BASIC) pilot program developed between Edison Local Schools and the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Kaufmann helps develop positive behavioral and intervention support strategies for teachers and students and works to address a variety of needs, at times involving community organizations. She is pictured here with Liam Styletz, a second-grader at Stanton Elementary, doing an activity in the sensory room.)