Two Iowa School for the Deaf faculty members presented at the national virtual PBIS conference June 21 & 22. PBIS, or Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, is an evidence-based, tiered framework which supports behavioral, academic, social, emotional and mental health. Kristi Zimmerman, ISD school counselor, and Hana Krommenhoek, ISD reading specialist, presented, “The Impact of Collaborative Practices in Whole-Child Education.” Both serve on the PBIS team at ISD.
The two discussed how they use social emotional learning in each middle and high school class, and referred to examples they have noticed of how students confront challenges, especially post-COVID. Zimmerman notes students at ISD, who often board on campus because they live more than an hour from campus, may especially struggle with family, isolation and community in their home communities.
Other concepts Krommenhoek and Zimmerman brought to the audience included the social emotional behavioral health aspects they have put into place, such as:
1) PBIS rewards app and point system
2) Zen Den for students (a relaxing room in the secondary building)
3) Teachers create calming baskets and/or calming corners in their classrooms
4) Establishing GSA (Gender and Sexualities Alliance Club)
Krommenhoek and Zimmerman are in the process of developing a curriculum of five-minute weekly social emotional learning, for all ISD teachers to focus on a targeted social/emotional/behavioral health skill.