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Lakeside honored as a school of character
Lakeside honored as a school of character
Zach Fletcher
Thursday, May 10 2018

Last week, Character.org and the Kansas Department of Education recognized schools from across the state for programs which offer excellent character development emphasizing social and emotional education.

Melinda DeGruson, Lakeside Elementary counselor, was recognized and awarded the Promising Practice Recognition for the BIST Buddies program. BIST Buddies focus on small group, cross-grade level instruction to increase the awareness and practice of good character as well as the opportunity to be peer role models and coaches. BIST is an acronym for Behavior Intervention Support Team, a program which teaches ways for schools to create positive and healthy learning environments for all.

"The program emphasizes collaboration and cooperation among the students who are blended into multi-grade level groups," Melinda DeGruson said. "The students have fun getting to know each other and do fun activities together during the BIST Buddy meeting times."

Through the program, students develop communication and leadership skills as well as build positive relationships with each other.  

"Lakeside staff and students have focused on cultivating an environment that is positive and encouraging," Rhonda White, Lakeside principal said. "The BIST Buddy program contributes to that goal and offers opportunities for students to connect and build relationships with others."

"Our discipline referrals have dropped significantly from last year," White said. "I believe that this program is one factor that has made a difference."

In addition to being honored as a Kansas School of Character, DeGruson will be recognized at the 2018 National Forum on Character in Washington, DC in October in the Promising Practices category.