Also new this year is secure entry into the building. Over the summer, the district installed a security system in the school. All doors, including the front door, are locked during the school day. Staff members screen visitors to Van Buren at the front door before allowing them entry into the school.
Van Buren has embraced the district's Wellness Policy. The school held its first wellness fair in October to provide students and their families with health-related information. Families participated in physical activities and visited educational booths for information. Also new to the school this year is a walking group, which physical education teacher Daniel Vannatta began for students. Each Monday during the school's activity period, he leads students on a brisk walk outside on the school's fitness trail for what he has dubbed "Monday Miles." If the weather is inclement, students walk in the gym.
To create a school-wide system of behavior expectations, teacher teams have begun the process of developing a system of Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS). The goal of PBIS is to establish clear and consistent learner-centered supports and expectations, school-wide, to provide children with the structure they need to be successful, which will result in improved student behavior and increased achievement. Initially the teacher teams have established expectations for student voice levels, which Van Buren has implemented school-wide in all classrooms and all other areas of the building. All students know that level one indicates a whisper, level two is a normal speaking voice, and level three is an outside voice. All staff members use a common hand signal to indicate to students when they need to be quiet. Principal Bick said there is a noticeable difference in the noise volume in the school's hallways, bathrooms, cafeteria and classrooms now that there is a uniform expectation for noise in the school.