Willie Burrel

Mona Shores Middle School
Norton Shores, Michigan

Best Practices

1) One of the main reasons I wake up every morning excited about school is because of the connections I get the opportunity to make with staff, students, and the community. My goal is always to create as many positive interactions as I can during the school day. I make it a priority to greet students by name as they exit the bus and enter the building. I set out to learn things about staff that are not directly related to school so we can connect on things other than curriculum, discipline, and general education stuff. I challenge myself to attend as many sporting events as possible to encourage and cheer on our students. The culture in our building is special. When you walk in the front office you feel welcomed. That doesn’t just happen. The culture at MSMS is this way because we prioritize building positive, meaningful relationships with staff, students, and our community. When I talk to students, I try to connect with them on a level where they know I care, but also that I’m going to hold them accountable. Through the years I’ve learned that making these meaningful connections will go a long way when having tough conversations with staff and students. Kids will sniff out a fake. I take pride in being real. I believe our students know that their safety and success is my number one priority. It is my responsibility to ensure ALL that are connected to MSMS feel loved, valued, and appreciated.

2) Working with our SLT (School Leadership Team), finding ways to enhance our PBIS has been a passion of mine for a long time. I truly believe creating building-wide systems and supports will help to encourage and promote positive behavior practices from both staff and students. Since starting at MSMS I have connected with local restaurants to charter lunches for students. In partnership with Craigs Cruisers, a West Michigan Family Fun Park, we’ve been able to award attraction passes to both staff and students. Positively Pride awards are given to students that go over and beyond expectations. These students not only receive school swag, but admin notify parents of the accomplishment and make an acknowledgement amongst the student’s peers. It’s a big deal! I believe the best practice of creating positive behavior systems and supports aligns directly with the best practice above of making connections and building relationships. It helps me to be proactive instead of reactive. It ensures we create goals. It holds us responsible to communicate with one another so that those goals are achieved. With these supports and others like it, we continue to see growth building wide in commitment and accountability.