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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

$10,000 IPSF Innovative Grant Digitizes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program

Math+teacher+Ran+Gu+receives+a+%2410%2C000+Innovative+Grant+from+the+Irvine+Public+Schools+Foundation+%28IPSF%29.+IPSF+awards+over+%245%2C000%2C000+in+grants%2C+donations+and+program+support+to+the+Irvine+Unified+School+District+each+year%2C+according+to+IPSF.
Courtesy of Amy Paulsen
Math teacher Ran Gu receives a $10,000 Innovative Grant from the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF). IPSF awards over $5,000,000 in grants, donations and program support to the Irvine Unified School District each year, according to IPSF.

Portola High was awarded a $10,000 innovative grant to digitize the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program from the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) on Feb. 19.

The winning video project by math teacher Ran Gu, “A Digital System for Positive Behavioral Supports,” is a joint initiative with Jeffrey Trail Middle School. Gu said he aims to supplement both schools’ PBIS programs with software to manage feedback on student behavior, facilitate student recognition and support socio-emotional learning. PBIS is a schoolwide systems approach that establishes a positive student culture and creates a safe learning environment for all students, according to the Center on PBIS.

“A lot of times we don’t teach behavior,” Gu said. “We just say, ‘Oh don’t do that. Stop doing that.’ But, I don’t think that helps. To some students, they don’t have a good role model around them growing up, and to them, they have no idea what it means to show pride, to show respect, to show integrity, and this program is meant to intentionally teach those things.”

Gu said that he applied for the grant through a video submission process in which he discussed the purpose of the PBIS program and how the grant money would help make the program more efficient.

Gu said that the grant money will go toward growing the program to the point where staff can efficiently manage all the P.R.I.D.E tickets that are given out. Digitizing the program also enables data driven decision making for PBIS coordinators, ensuring effective outcomes for initiatives, according to Gu.

“I hope [PBIS] is going to guide a lot of people’s moral compass as they build their worldviews,” Gu said. “It’s a very important part of what makes this campus positive.”

Current PBIS members, including sophomore Suhaila Brundavanam, encourage students to show P.R.I.D.E. values. For instance, members created posters to raise awareness about being on time for class, which is connected to the integrity aspect of P.R.I.D.E., according to Brundavanam.

Seeing other students react to those posters in a positive way and be less tardy to class was something that made me feel happy about being in PBIS,” Brundavanam said. “Our grant is great for awareness because a lot of people don’t know about PBIS existing.”

IPSF’s annual grants fund innovative approaches at schools throughout the district that improve the educational experiences of students, according to IPSF. Principal John Pehrson said he hopes that the grant helps to grow PBIS and teachers continue to receive more funding to pursue creative projects.

In the future, Gu said he hopes that Jeffrey Trail Middle School and Portola High will combine their PBIS programs to allow for a continuation of the ticket system from middle school to high school. Gu will meet with stakeholders to discuss specific features of the software and create a timeline for building it.

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About the Contributor
Aditi Salunkhe, Assistant Sports Editor
Aditi Salunkhe is the Assistant Sports Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. When she’s not stressing about final draft deadlines, you can find her watching true crime documentaries or going on long runs with her cross country teammates. In her freetime, she often reads mystery books in bed with her favorite snacks.
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