Teachers and bus drivers in Kansas City area schools are trying something new to improve student behavior and promote bus safety: positive labels. The KC3 Positive Label Program has been working — name-calling and distractions decrease by more than 50%, kindness and cooperation doubles.

Teachers and bus drivers report a significant increase in job satisfaction. School administrators and transportation directors benefit from a happier staff. Fewer distractions translate to more quality teaching time and safer buses.

“We are delighted to be the first school system in Missouri to pilot the KC3 Positive Label Program,” said Kendra Johnson, Associate Superintendent North Kansas City Schools. “This program provides an opportunity for teachers, counselors, bus drivers, administrators and staff to participate in a structured program to increase positive interactions with students.” The schools participating in the program are Winnwood, West Englewood, Gracemor, and Chouteau.

“Fewer name-calling distractions allow drivers to focus on driving, providing a safer ride for students,” explained Shirley Patrick, Assistant Director of Transportation. Patrick continues, “The KC3 program brings positive continuity between bus and classroom, helping us move forward with a common goal.”

“We are excited. Not only will the program help with bus behavior, but it should help school-wide. With increased kindness and cooperation, more time can be devoted to instruction,” stated Sara Cocolis, Principal, Winnwood Elementary. “It’s a nice fit with our BIST management program, our focus on character education and life skills.”

The KC3 Positive Label Program, created by Margaret Ross and offered through the Kamaron Institute, is designed to teach children that words are powerful tools that can have either a positive or negative effect. KC3 stands for Kamaron Concept Three, which states, “Labels Changes Lives,” and is the program motto. The heart of the program centers on the first of Ross’s three “Casey” books, “Casey and the Amazing, Giant, Green Shirt.”

“It’s a positive process,” explained Kamaron Institute President Margaret Ross. “Pre-surveys are conducted to establish baseline behaviors. During the six-week certification process, school staff and drivers conduct a minimum of three activities a week using the program tools and training. Post-survey measures behavior change. Monthly booster activities support behavior change,” added Ross.

Educators Say It’s Important To Help Children When They Get a Low Grade
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com) January 23, 2005 – As report cards begin to arrive in the mail, how parents respond to these grades can affect their child’s self esteem and future academic success. Excellent or passing marks don’t always translate into proficiency. This is a good time to see if a child is on track for the school year.

Andrea Pastorok, Ph.D., education specialist with Kumon Math & Reading Centers recommends the following tips to help parents interpret a child’s report card.

  • Pay attention to teacher comments, as they can be more revealing than the grade itself. If any comments seem unclear, follow up with the teacher and ask for more feedback. A grade often doesn’t reflect a child’s potential ability.
  • If your child’s grade seems low, don’t panic. Compare it to the class average, and if it still seems low (in core areas such as math or reading) seek help. Ask the school for remedial assistance, hire a private tutor or enroll your child in a supplemental education program such as Kumon Math & Reading Centers to help your child succeed. Don’t punish your child for poor grades, provide the support needed to improve.
  • For elementary age students, help your child achieve long-term goals rather than focusing on the grade received. This is the stage where a child develops confidence, an interest in learning and basic math and reading skills; the fundamentals to succeed at high school and college levels. Good grades will be required later on to pre-qualify for honors or advanced placement (AP) courses offered in high school and to maintain a strong GPA needed for entrance to college.
  • Once a game plan is set for improvement, routinely check your child’s progress. Work with the tutor and monitor whether your child is moving forward and achieving set goals. Parents must take an active role in helping their child overcome difficulties. If a child has a learning disability, it is especially important that parents are patient and supportive.
  • If your child doesn’t do well on tests, it’s important to get him to practice; that obstacle can be overcome with repetition and help. Today’s child cannot fear test taking, or let testing interfere with their ability to learn.

“Regardless of a child’s needs, all parents should try to maintain an ongoing dialogue with their child’s teacher from day one,” says Pastorok. “Keep in touch by attending parent nights or call and arrange for a meeting with the teacher. Don’t wait for the next report card to signal a call to action.”

Students Are Encouraged to Apply Early for Student Financial Assistance
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) January 25, 2005 – The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) is encouraging students that are planning to attend college during the 2005-06 school year and applying for student financial assistance to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.

In order to be considered for Missouri need-based financial assistance, both new and renewal students must have the FAFSA submitted to the federal processing center by April 1, 2005. The FAFSA is also required for federal programs, such as Pell Grant, Work-Study, and some institutional student financial aid programs.

Students may complete the FAFSA online, and apply for an electronic PIN which will serve as their signature for the online form, at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Those students who submit the FAFSA after the April 1 deadline may still be considered for federal or institutional student financial assistance. Families with more than one dependent student must complete a separate FAFSA for each child.

The information that is submitted on the FAFSA is used to calculate how much students and their families can contribute toward college expenses and to determine a student?s eligibility for state need-based student financial assistance programs. “Completing the FAFSA is the first step to making a dream of going to college a reality,” stated Dr. Greg Fitch, Commissioner of Higher Education. “I encourage all students who need student financial assistance to take action today and complete the FAFSA.”

The MDHE provides free information and resources to help students and their families plan and pay for college. For more information about student financial assistance programs, contact the MDHE at (800) 473-6757, [email protected], or visit the website at www.dhe.mo.gov.