St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Two Rochester elementary schools were recognized today for excellence in creating positive school climates and student supports.

The Minnesota Department of Education says Franklin and Elton Hills Elementary Schools are among the 67 public schools and six school districts honored this year for their successful use of a program aimed at promoting positive student behavior, particularly for students facing challenges both inside and outside of the classroom. The Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program is described as a data-driven process that provides schools and school districts with training and support to make them more responsive to the cultures and communities they serve with a focus on decreasing disparities in discipline and narrowing the achievement gap.

“In education, our students are the heart of everything we do. It is critical that they feel supported, especially as they encounter challenging and traumatic issues,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “I congratulate and thank these schools and districts for reimagining and transforming the way they care for and support our students. Your work not only benefits our schools, but it benefits our communities as a whole.”

The PBIS program was launched in 2005 and is currently used in over one-third of the state’s public schools. According to state health officials, data from those schools show clear evidence of a reduction in the number of behavioral incidents, fewer student suspensions, and increased levels of student engagement.

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