By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
J.L. Buford Intermediate Center achieved a 6.6 percent growth in reading and a 5.9 percent growth in math from 2011 to 2012 on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test.
Principal Ryan Swan gave the City Schools District 80 Board of Education an update on the school’s demographics, security, discipline, curriculum and more at the most recent board meeting.
“We’re really proud of the teachers and the classified staff,” Swan said. “They’ve done a great job in raising ISAT scores.”
The only category in which J.L. Buford students did not show an increase is in reading. Black students showed 46.1 percent meeting or exceeding standards in 2011, but that number dropped to 45.9 percent in 2012.
Fall benchmark scores in Aimsweb, a screening test used three times a year, shows students are meeting or above target in three of four areas, Swan said; word problems in math are the area needing work.
J.L. Buford students and staff use Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports as the student discipline system, Swan said. Through that program, students receive five “Core Cash” dollars, which can be taken away for bad behavior or for unfinished homework or another problem, Swan said.
Students who hang on to 85 percent or more of their Core Cash earn the privilege to attend “Core Bashes,” or positive behavior activities such as dances.
“They get Tiger Paws for good behavior, or for things like introducing their parents to their teachers during open houses,” Swan said. “The Tiger Trolley comes around, and students can buy prizes. Those are some of the positive behavior reinforcements we do.”
For punishments for negative behavior, PBIS uses in-school and out-of-school detentions, parent/teacher conferences and tier groups, with Tier One students who are responding to normal interventions, Tier Two with one in-school suspension or multiple interventions, and Tier Three, the most serious level of interventions, he said.
J.L. Buford is exceeding all of its target goals for discipline tiers, Swan said. For Tier One, the goal is 80 percent of students or 250, and the current status is 293 students or 93.9 percent; the goal for Tier Two is 15 percent or 47 students and the current status is 14 students, or 4.5 percent; and the goal for Tier Three is 16 students or five percent, and the current status is 1.6 percent or five students.
Jeff Campbell, a District 80 board member, said his son loves the Core Bashes and that they are a good incentive for positive behavior.
April Hertenstein, J.L. Buford social worker, is heading up several school-wide activities to prevent or reduce bullying behavior, information states, including an assembly, an anti-bullying pledge, small group activities and “Hero Lunch” with the principal.
Swan said J.L. Buford’s enrollment has increased from 297 last year.
The total enrollment of the intermediate center is 312 students, which includes six classrooms and 141 fourth grade students, seven classrooms and 160 fifth grade students, and three classrooms or 23 special education students.
The ethnic makeup of the school population is 34 percent African-American, two percent Asian, 53 percent white, three percent Hispanic, eight percent multi-racial and no Native American.
Concerning mobility, about 15 to 18 students have enrolled since August, and about 15 students have dropped from the school’s rolls as well.
Low income is measured by students who receive free or reduced lunches — 84 percent of J.L. Buford students do so.
Swan said that is an increase from last year, when about 82 percent of students received free or reduced lunch.
About 80 percent of students ride the bus, while 20 percent walk or are picked up.