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Streetsboro Elementary School teacher David Ravida, 30, who won this year's Teacher of the Year Award for the 2016-17 school year, has taken a leadership role on a panel aimed at developing consistent awards for good behavior and discipline for poor behavior.
Streetsboro Elementary School Principal Amy Cruse said she thinks that may be one reason the first-grade teacher received the honor.
"He's taken on some leadership roles in helping with our PBIS committee," she said.
PBIS, which stands for Positive Behaviors, Interventions and Support, is an effort between the elementary school and Henry Defer Intermediate School to try to develop a consistent system of rewarding good behavior, she said.
Cruse said Ravida, in addition to being a sensitive and communicative classroom teacher, has helped present and track data for the committee.
"His role has been analyzing the current data, and he's reported on that to our staff," she said. That data includes a record of office referrals and other incidents of good and bad behavior.
Ravida, who also is working on his administration certification, said he was honored by the award.
"Just to be nominated, I was so honored because there are so many teachers in this district that do so many great things," he said.
He said teachers and staff can nominate teachers, who then must fill out a questionnaire and be interviewed by an outside panel of education professionals, who choose the winner from a winnowed down list of candidates.
Ravida said he loves teaching at the elementary level because of the exponential growth that can be seen in some students.
"Seeing kids come in here who don't know their alphabet yet and seeing them leave reading chapter books is just great," he said.
He also said elementary students are always eager to learn and please.
"Finding out that learning can be fun makes a world of difference," he said of elementary school students. "There's just not much drama. There's nothing that we can't help or fix. I love coming here. The students have such a passion for coming to school at this age."
Not only has Ravida pitched in on the PBIS committee, Cruse said he's a conscientious teacher who works to tailor education to individual students and makes a point of maintaining strong ties to parents.
"He puts in place interventions and differentiation to help kids in his classroom," she said. "He goes above and beyond in terms of building relationships with students and families."
Ravida said communication and trust are keys to his success.
"I build relationships with my kids from Day 1," he said. "Building that trust early on at this age range is so important. If you don't build that trust early on, they're not going to want to learn."
Although parents are invested in their children's education to varying degrees, Ravida said he hasn't had many problems with parents, which he attributes to consistent communication with them.
He said he sends emails and makes phones calls to parents every week to let them know when their children have distinguished themselves negatively or positively.
"Some of the parents have my phone number," he said. "If you document things and cite examples and keep parents informed of what's going on, they'll work with you to get better. The kids are great, and the parents are so supportive at least at my level. They're the reason why the kids are successful, as well."
Although he's on track to earn his administration certificate in December, Ravida said he has no immediate plans to join the ranks of the administration in Streetsboro or anywhere else.
"I still love teaching," he said. "I'm not in a rush to get out of teaching. When I do end up stepping out of the classroom, I see myself taking an assistant principal or principal job."
He said Cruse and Streetsboro Elementary School Assistant Principal Greg McClellan are "fantastic."
"If something opens up, then that means one of those two are leaving, and I think that would hurt our district more than help it," he said.
FB: Bob Gaetjens