Atmosphere can have a powerful effect on learning, says Nord Middle School principal Bill Miller.
Looking at the trail blazed by his counterparts at Powers and Harris elementaries, Miller will introduce “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports” this year for his fifth- and sixth-graders.
“It can only help our climate here. It’s only a good thing,” he said, describing how rewarding students for helpful and compassionate actions improve grades, reduce stress, and disarm bullies.
Security cameras are being installed this week both inside and outside Nord. Otherwise, construction and repair projects are on hold at the middle school as educators eye the November ballot to see whether voters will approve a 12-year bond issue to build a new elementary.
Miller said if that tax push succeeds, Nord will host grades three, four, and five next school year (sending sixth to Amherst Junior High) and he’s hesitant to make major changes until there’s a clearer picture of what the future holds.
But he believes it’s clear the middle school’s air cooling system will need updated and interior painting needs done regardless of what voters decide.
In the meantime, there’s a big push to have teachers use more digital technology in day-to-day lessons. Tutoring labs are also high on Miller’s priority list to help some students get the extra help they need.
“I think we have some really great teachers in this building. They work hard. I can’t say how proud I am, especially of how personal they make it,” he said.
“I want people to know we have some great things happening at Nord,” Miller said. And when it comes to students, “I want them to walk away at the end of the year having pride in themselves, having pride in their classmates and in their school.”
He said district residents are welcome to volunteer or observe in Nord classrooms. To do so, simply call the school office.
An open house will be held from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Nord.