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— When Nancy Blackwelder served as assistant principal at a Florida high school, she was shot by an angry student - an incident that not only rocked the educational community but her own personal world.

After she recovered, Blackwelder decided to use her experience to help others and she began speaking to various groups about crisis intervention plans and how to handle angry people.

She shared that wealth of knowledge with the staff and facultyoftheGravetteSchoolDistrict during an in-service day for the district Thursday. Her presentation included information for personnel who come in contact with students and covered issues such as discipline tips, dealing withangrypeopleandmanaging the classroom or bus environment in a positive manner.

"You can't make the kids behave," she said. "You have to make them want to behave for you."

Lisa Henderson, a special education paraprofessional, said she appreciated the discussion about how to deal with the various life situations that children face and how those situations might affect their behavior.

Jackie Stay and GingerListman are both pre-kindergarten paraprofessionals. They said the techniques to help children succeed were helpful, including how to use positive reinforcement.

"It's a good reminder that each child needs encouragement," Stay said.

Blackwelder's presentation took up much of the day but the staff development also included encouraging words from Gravette Superintendent Andrea Kelly. She spoke of the district's ongoing success in a variety of areas, as well as upcoming developments, including some construction projects coming soon.

"The achievements made in our schools during the year have led me to believe that extraordinary success for all is possible in the Gravette School District," she said."What does it take to make extraordinary success a reality? This occurs when we have positive relationships and personal connections; when we expect the best from each other and make positive differences for others; when we focus on our strengths, provide support and make our shortcomings insignificant.

"When we believe we are all capable of greatness, we enjoy our work, learn and grow together and turn possibilities into reality," Kelly said.

News, Pages 5 on 08/19/2009

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