Mon County, WVU Psychology Dept. partnership gives teachers access to new behavioral tool

MORGANTOWN — Show of hands:

What are the two words on a teacher evaluation form that can cause the palms of a novice educator to sweat like a rain forest?

That’s an A if you said, “classroom management.”

New teachers in Monongalia County Schools will get extra help in that arena this fall, courtesy of a partnership between the district and WVU’s Department of Psychology.

The program is called the Educator Coaching Instruction and Support Program (ECRISP),   and it was created in part by Claire St. Peter, a  professor who specializes in behavioral issues.

Assistant Superintendent Donna Talerico said the program is geared to first-year teachers and their young charges who simply act up, be it by a bad home life or unchecked medical condition.

Talerico began her career as an elementary teacher in the county.

It’s not always easy, she said, even if you love what you do.

“New teachers, in particular, are always trying to add to the tool box,” she said.

“ECRISP will help them get that control, so they can actually teach.”

The professor behind ECRISP has a long history in county schools.

In 2012, St. Peter launched Behavior Education Assisting Children in Overcoming Needs (BEACON).

BEACON brings in parents and other caregivers to reinforce good behaviors, St. Peter said.

“Each child is an individual,” St. Peter said, “so services for each child must be tailored to that child’s needs.”

“We believe that children are the products of their environments.”

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