Laker Zone to be Featured in ODE Video

Laker Zone to be Featured in ODE Video
Posted on 04/15/2021
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The Ohio Department of Education is putting The Laker Zone in the spotlight. 

Indian Lake Elementary School’s award-winning, long-time positive behavior intervention and support program will be featured in an upcoming training video for districts across the state. 

A team from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incident (OCALI) was recently on site at ILES for an extensive video shoot. 

Interviewer Carly McVety explains, “When complete, this video will be a comprehensive tool to help other schools implement or get started with their PBIS programs.”

In recent years, the Ohio Department of Education has mandated that schools focus on a student’s social-emotional learning through PBIS programs—positive behavior incentives and supports. Successful PBIS programs are proven to help reduce behavior problems, like insubordination and bullying, by rewarding good behavior instead of simply punishing undesired acts.  

When former administrator Tod Scarpella helped create the Laker Zone at Lakeview Elementary School nearly 20 years ago, no one could have predicted the direction of education in Ohio or the far-reaching effects of the program at Indian Lake. Now his wife, third grade teacher Pam Scarpella, continues the focus as Indian Lake School District’s PBIS Coordinator and elementary school Zone Buster character. 

Pam Scarpella says, “Our initial plan was just to do what is best for students’ behavior and follow the state expectations. But the staff really bought into the PBIS framework and were willing to make adjustments to the Laker Zone to ensure we were following the guidelines.” 

For the training video, the ODE team conducted extensive interviews with Pam Scarpella, ILES PBIS team member and third grade intervention specialist Justin Welker, and State Support Team Region 6 leader Tiffini Flugga. Scarpella and Welker also led interviews with other teachers, students and held a PBIS team meeting to be included.

The Laker Zone at Indian Lake Elementary School includes specific signage with clear behavior expectations in all educational areas from the school bus, to classrooms, the cafeteria, to the restroom and playgrounds. Staff members frequently make light-hearted videos to demonstrate proper behaviors in those locations and continuously evaluate current student behaviors to determine where to focus instructions next. Laker Zone Awards for each classroom are handed out quarterly, staff members hand out Laker Zone Cards for desired behaviors often and students recite the Laker Zone Pledge after announcements daily. 

Welker says, “Our students really love getting to put up their Laker Zone cards, wearing their t-shirts and signing the Laker Zone Wall of Fame to let others know that they were caught in the zone. We try to make positive behavior a cool thing.”

In fact, the Laker Zone served as the foundation for the Indian Lake School District’s Lake Effect Program, that encompasses social-emotional learning and positive behaviors at the middle and high school. 

Superintendent Rob Underwood adds, “Students coming up through all the grade levels know what it means to be in the Laker Zone. When we decided to extend PBIS ideals to the upper grades, it made perfect sense to expand upon the Laker Zone for our Culture Playbook, which guides us toward the outcomes we want to achieve in school and in life.” 

Scarpella adds, “We are very honored to be part of this project and we hope it helps other schools implement PBIS.”

Along with the Laker Zone, McVety says the training video will feature the PBIS programs of a handful of other schools. It should be produced and ready to debut for schools next fall.