I am very excited to announce that I am officially part of the Jigsaw Learning Team as a new Learning Associate! In addition to introducing myself, I would like to give a quick overview of some of the upcoming work that I have planned to assist schools and districts in their collective efforts to support students with behavioural challenges.
My name is Barb Pears and I have been working with kids with behavioural challenges for over 15 years. After receiving my Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, I was offered a job to assist with designing and implementing a Behaviour Support School. The only experience that I had up until this point with students with behavioural challenges is that I grew up as a kid with behavioural challenges. I figured that “it takes one to know one” so I took the job. My “experience” as a student with challenges that impacted my educational success certainly helped me to have compassion, understanding and build relationships with these amazing kids. However, I still had a lot to learn about programming, assessment, collaboration and interventions to help these students academically and behaviourally. For the next 10 years, I immersed myself into this world and loved every minute of it! I worked as a teacher, director, assistant principal and principal at that Behaviour Support School. During that time, I realized that it was important to expand myself so I took a position as an assistant principal at a high school. I learned a great deal about how kids with behaviour challenges exist and learn in a traditional school. We didn’t call it inclusion at that point but, I always felt that students need the least restrictive environment to be successful, which includes the foundational belief that we plan to support each individual child. Eventually, I followed my heart, and went back to that Behaviour Support School as both an administrator and as a District Behaviour Consultant eventually working solely at a district level for 5 years. During that time, I also received a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Flinder’s University. I am currently trying to stay connected to students and staff in my part-time role as Inclusion Coach in Wolf Creek Public Schools and now hoping to share what I have learned and continue to grow by being a part of the Jigsaw Learning team.
Jigsaw Learning has a strong presence in the school division that I am currently employed. I have been actively mindful of their mission, vision, and core values. Imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to join this amazing team! In their book, Envisioning a Collaborative Response Model, the founders state that, “Our goal is to help schools make sure that all students are engaged learners and that no child slips through the cracks”. My work with behaviour fits symbiotically with this ideal and allows opportunity to address the whole child; academically, socially, emotionally and behaviourally.
I have passionately started working out how behaviour supports fit into the Collaborative Response Model and have created a “Think Sheet” that organizes and balances the research and my experiences.
We have begun transferring this initial document into an evolving digital resource to help support school teams. My goal is to actively engage with schools to provide specific behaviour interventions and supports that are designed to focus on the needs of individual students who are exhibiting behaviours that are impacting their learning.
Through Jigsaw Learning, I can offer teaching, coaching, and consulting to school sites related to establishing behavioural supports for students. I am available to schools to consult on an individual or group basis using observation, modelling, involvement in team meetings and creation of structures and supporting documentation. If your goal is to establish a Pyramid of Behaviour Support, I can assist in developing and creating a pyramid that is tailor-made to your school community.
I look forward to collaborating and assisting you with your behaviour supports journey! These kids can teach us so much about accessing our own compassion, respect, love and intuition. It truly is all about the kids in our care!