Stats find antibullying program is a success

Project TEAM is making waves in schools.

It’s an antibullying program that takes an interactive approach to help students feel more connected to their peers, and school as a whole.

Already in 18 schools across the state, and in New Jersey, program director Linsey Covert said longtime research, with help from Penn State resources, allowed the program and its parent company TEAMology to take flight.

A pilot program was initially implemented at an elementary school in the Waynesboro Area School District.

“Overall, Project TEAM is showing great success in Waynesboro Area School District,” Covert said. “Teachers and students believe the programming is very positive, and we are seeing significant growth in students who were originally reporting low school connectedness before Project TEAM.”

With help from fellow Penn State grad and educator Lisa Dibernardo, Project TEAM was also expanded to a school in New Jersey.

Covert said the project is “excelling” in primary schools and with its students, but the program is also being implemented at an inner-city K-8th grade school in Pittsburgh, which includes middle school students.

“After only seven weeks of implementation, Propel Northside has shown huge gains,” Covert said.

Compared to this time last year, behavioral referrals are down more than 40 percent, attendance has increased almost 2 percent, and bus incidents are down 50 percent.

The school is also showing a 25 percent increase in teacher retention.

“We’re moving forward, and I think we’re looking to bring everyone into our house,” Covert said. “Kids are coming to school from all kinds of background, and at some point in time, they need to feel connected, and learn they can create their futures.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo