By Richard Rourk
Unicoi Elementary School received a great honor last month.
On Nov. 20, the Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (funded by the Tennessee Department of Education) announced that Unicoi Elementary School has been selected as a 2020-2021 bronze level RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School. There are more than 1,800 schools across the state of Tennessee and each year a small percentage of schools meet the criteria to be selected as an RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School, according to the TBSP at University of Tennessee report.
Unicoi County Director of Schools John English was proud to hear that Unicoi Elementary was recognized by TBSP.
“This is a huge honor and I thank (Unicoi Elementary principal) Mr. (Mike) Riddell and his staff for working so diligently on this for the last five years,” English said.
Riddell acknowledged he is proud of this accomplishment, but is ready to seek silver and then gold status.
“We set out five years ago with a plan to reach bronze status as a Model of Demonstration school and our staff, students and their families worked hard to achieve this status,” Riddell said. “We are now striving for the silver status in the next few years and from there we will work to become gold status.”
According to TBSP’s report, Unicoi Elementary School has been a participant in training and technical assistance provided by TBSP and has undergone the process of implementing a positive and proactive behavioral systems framework for all students. The RTI2-B framework consists of: identifying common behavioral expectations across campus; teaching; re-teaching; reinforcing; and regularly acknowledging students, faculty, and families for exhibiting these expectations.
TBSP acknowledged that Unicoi Elementary School has applied this framework to improve the climate, culture, and proactive disciplinary practices which directly impacts student engagement and school connectedness. In meeting this award criteria Unicoi Elementary School demonstrated use of school-wide behavioral data to inform teaching practices and levels of support provided to students based on need. Twice a year, they also reflected on overall fidelity to guide their implementation of the RTI2-B framework.
It is TBSP’s goal that no school in Tennessee should have to travel more than 45 minutes to see an exemplary school implementing RTI2-B. As a bronze level RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School, Unicoi Elementary School can now serve as a mentor to other schools across East Tennessee.
This award will be presented during the Partners In Education Conference hosted by the Tennessee Department of Education at a later date.