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School staff wearing 'Antigo Pride' shirts to welcome students back
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As the new school year opens, school district staff are wearing their Antigo Pride on their shoulders.

As part of the school district's Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program, staffers including bus staff are being encouraged to wear maroon T-shirts emblazoned with "Antigo Pride," the program's motto.

"We have designated every Monday as Antigo Pride apparel day," Heather McCann, associate principal at Antigo Middle School, said.

The Antigo Pride program actually started during the 2013-14 school year as a way to address both academic and behavioral performance of students.

"We can never assume that students come to us and know what we expect of them," McCann said. "It is our job to teach and model the expectations, whether we are parents, students, teachers, coaches, custodians, food service workers, administrators, bus drivers or community members."

Students, staff and visitors to all the district's schools are being greeted by large banners spelling out the straightforward Pride message, "Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible."

Those overall goals were developed by a district-wide team and can be further refined by the individual schools to meet the needs of students. The Middle School, for example, added a "Be Ready," notation, recognizing that students were coming to class unprepared.  The high school chose "Be Here," as a way to combat truancy.

"There may be a slightly different message," McCann explained. "But overall, a student will be able to move from school to school knowing exactly what to expect."

It's an idea that seems almost too simple,  but results from thousands of schools in 40 states, and experience from the past school year locally, have shown that it works.

"When all students are knowledgeable of the expectations, they usually respond as directed," Anita Mattek, associate principal at Antigo High School, said.

And when students behave better, there is less time spent on discipline and more time devoted to teaching and learning.

Through Antigo Pride, the district is also addressing student academic performance by the use of instructional interventionists at all elementary schools, Middle School and high school.  Their role will be to assist students who are struggling with specific skills and be a resource to the classroom teacher in suggesting strategies to address the areas of skill development.  

"We really believe that all students can learn and achieve high standards when provided with effective teaching, research-based instruction and access to a standard's based curriculum," Mattek said.

A comprehensive system of tiered intervention—both gifted and intervention—is essential for  addressing the full range of students' academic and behavioral needs. The rewards are simple ranging from pencils, books, and other school supplies as well as food, gift cards, having a special lunch with a staff member, a special parking spot for high school students, technology time, added recess time etc. and designed as a way to make good decisions easy and bad choices more difficult.

"Students have rights and privileges as well as responsibilities,"  Janene Beck-Hafner, Antigo school district pupil service director, said. "While the school has an obligation to provide an education for all students, the students have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a way that is respectful and helps build a climate essential for learning."

Collaboration is key, she stressed.

"Wouldn't it be great to have signs welcoming travelers to our community that say 'Antigo Pride: A Safe, Respectful and Responsible Community'?" Beck said. "We hope that outcomes from Antigo Pride will not only affect our schools, but will also flow into the homes of our students and our community as well. We're excited about the opportunities."


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Some members of the Antigo staff wearing their “Antigo Pride” shirts.
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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JOURNAL
EXPRESS
612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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