Katie Bertussi

The Learning Lab Takes Flight: A Classroom Management Plan for the Pearl River Public Library

Presented by: Katie Bertussi
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Athena McAlenney, Associate Professor of Education & Kathy Rodenbach, Adjunct Professor of Education



Many teachers mistakenly assume that their students’ behavioral difficulties are largely beyond their control, when in fact, the opposite is true: the teacher, and the plan he or she makes to manage behavior, is “the most critical element” (Scheuermann & Hall, 2016). This study developed a research-based classroom management plan for a diverse population of third through sixth-grade students attending 90-minute STEAM programs at the Learning Lab in the Pearl River Public Library. From Summer 2018 to Fall 2021, a number of behavioral problems were observed, including students calling out, struggling to learn from teacher instruction and weak teacher-student relationships. For this study, antecedents, behaviors, and consequences were evaluated for each problematic behavior, and a comprehensive, culturally-responsive classroom management plan was created to support students’ 1-behavioral, 2-academic and 3-social success. 1-Behavioral supports included the creation of a system of rules and consequences with an accompanying plan of delivery. 2-Academic supports included the addition of a real world anticipatory activity, the adoption of an explicit instruction framework, and a closing activity for students to give and receive project feedback. 3-Social supports included a class “get-to-know-me” jamboard, a greeting procedure to establish teacher-student relationships, a classroom statement of purpose, and a Bitmoji classroom to extend community and academic growth beyond the classroom. All of these interventions, in combination with an action plan to ensure the continuous improvement of this plan, all serve to proactively manage student behavior, and ultimately, improve the quality of life in the lab.