Principal Buonanno boosts school morale at Gladstone


Now that the school year is well underway, the Gladstone Elementary School community has many events in full swing, according to new Principal Susan Buonanno.

"We have rolled out lots of new programs this year," Buonanno said. "PBIS was kicked off earlier this year with the kids rotating through stations, which stated for them all of our expectations. Now, we're reinforcing those expectations."

Buonanno tracks the data on student office referrals and has seen the numbers of disciplinary issues decreasing. Buonanno has put a new program in place for students who exemplify the PBIS expected behaviors.

"Every Friday morning, we have a Principal's Tea where we talk about students' academic or behavioral successes. The students talk about why they were chosen, how they were successful," she said.

With the rollout of Breakfast in the Classroom at Gladstone, Buonanno has started going into classrooms for breakfast to sit with the students for an informal conversation.

"I have a basket and on Tuesdays I pick out a name and then I go in for breakfast. They're the hosts," she said.

In an effort to work on cafeteria behavior, Buonanno has started a Lunch Bunch program on Wednesdays, choosing fifth graders to eat lunch with during their lunchtime.

"I'm trying to support change in our culture and climate here at Gladstone," she said. "This school has a great group of people, and we're all working together to enhance our programs and to help our students perform."

Boosting school morale is important to Buonanno, and she has tried to make a point of acknowledging the successes of the students, as well as the faculty and staff, with various recognition programs, including hosting a coffee hour for her teachers three times during the year so that she can sit and chat with them informally.

"I enjoy having that time with them," she said.

The students are seeing rewards throughout the school for their good behavior, including the return of a well-loved event, the School Store.

"They're doing such a great job that we just had the grand re-opening of our School Store. The students earn stars for their successes and with their stars they can make purchases," she said.

The new school Student Council has been chosen and those students are "doing great work," according to Principal Buonanno.

"They are our student leaders in the school. They've created school spirit activities and instituted things like bully boxes and student surveys. Each Monday they talk with me," she said.

Other programs that have been either instituted or re-instituted include the School Improvement Team and the Principal's Parent Cafe, which meets on Friday mornings roughly once per month.

The interior of the school facility has seen some improvements as well.

"We redid the front foyer; we put up a flag pole, we put out fresh mums, and we have a new rug," she said. "It's important that the school looks good so that the kids feel good about where they are, how it looks and feels."

As she heads into the second half of the school year, Principal Buonanno is thankful for the support she receives from her staff, students and the parent community at Gladstone.

"We care about our school, we're feeling great. Great things are happening here," she said.

The next Parent Cafe meeting will take place on Friday, Feb. 8 from 8:20 to 9:30 a.m. The topic will be "Ways to Help Your Third and Fourth Grade Child Learn Their Multiplication Facts."

For more information about the meeting or future meetings, contact Gladstone School at 270-8080.


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