By RJ Smith
POUGHKEEPSIE – This year, local Middle School students received an early gift before the holidays.
Students mingled with one another outside the gymnasium, excited for what was to come. A banner hung above a table where middle school staff members observed the students, fit with a festive theme. Danielle Greene was easy to find before the event commenced. The walk to find a private room to converse in was brief.
“Right now, our students have been working hard on our PBIS initiative,” said Danielle Greene, assistant principal of climate and culture. “PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. Throughout the week, students are able to earn one, two, or three dojo points. This is an annual event. This event was a nine point event. Students who were able to earn nine or more points by Friday were eligible to receive tickets to attend this event.”
The PBIS team at Poughkeepsie Middle School consists of Mr. Hines, Ms. Sheehan, and Dr. Cunzio. They are responsible for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade respectively. “I’m grateful to the PBIS team for ensuring that students have events and that their efforts are being presented in a positive way,” said Danielle Greene.
Dr. Raina Cunzio joined in the winter celebration, sporting antlers while walking around the gymnasium. Dr. Cunzio said, “This event is to recognize all the positive behaviors we’ve recognized at the middle school.”
A crowd of students waited on the bleachers. Close to the door stood a ring made from balloons. Volunteers were present to hand out pizza to students.
This year’s event was made possible through the efforts of both Wesley Lee and Karmen Smallwood. Wesley Lee went to his fraternity for aid in the funding process. Karmen Smallwood has experience with working with the youth through her employment with Dutchess County. She serves as an Assistant Commissioner for the county’s Youth Services programs. Wesley Lee stated that Smallwood was responsible for paying for the event.
The event continued until 7 o’clock, when it was time for the celebration to wind down. There is little doubt that the children will forget this excitement anytime soon.