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The Positive Learning Center (PLC)

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The Positive Learning Center (PLC) is a Middle School Special Education Behavior Program for students with emotional difficulties as well as learning differences. Traditionally we have had no more than 15 students with behavioral and academic support on the program’s caseload.

Safe Positive Neutral Learning Environment

The PLC is committed to providing a Safe Positive Neutral Learning Environment. This is posted on the wall in the PLC and is constantly referenced. A safe environment is needed in order for students to take risks. Positive experiences are necessary to build upon to transfer the positive behavioral interventions to other environments. A neutral environment is necessary for all students to feel safe and to believe that all feelings are welcomed. Learning is what the students are doing of themselves and others. Thus all together these words create an environment that is controlled to manage behavioral and academic needs.

Respect and Responsibility

The program is based on two core values, Respect and Responsibility. These two core values are operationalized into leader to detractor scales. These scales explain what level the student is performing at in terms of respect and responsibility. This system is used to manage and deter unwanted behaviors. It is also used for positive behavioral supports.

Positive Behavioral Supports

If a student earns enough points to be at a participant level, level 3, then the student has earned the privilege of access to certain rewards. The different rewards within the PLC could be use of the couch, comfortable chair, radio or television. It also allows the students to have access to all areas of the general school setting without direct supervision. All of the earned privileges are accessible, but not guaranteed as the PLC staff uses their discretion as to the availability of the privilege and the practicality of the privilege at the time of request.

Another Positive Behavioral Support is the PLC store. The store was started by the students in the PLC and the store has items chosen by the students. If the students obtain Participant Level, Level 3, then they receive $3.00 PLC Bucks. If a student obtains Level 4, then they receive $4.00 PLC Bucks, up to Level 5 (no PLC Bucks are issued below level 3).

Community Learning Fridays (CLF) are an opportunity to leave the school grounds as well as access the school’s campus and take time to explore community activities designed by the PLC staff and students. A student must earn Level 3 or above to participate on CLF. (It is possible that behavior exhibited outside the PLC and outside the use of the Respect and Responsibility Point Sheet can prohibit a student’s participation in CLF.) Activities that have occurred in the past are The Common Ground Fair, visiting Longfellow’s Greenhouses and other green houses in the communities, learning about Bee Keeping and a trout pond, volunteering at the local Humane Society, ice fishing, guest speakers on various subject matter, movies, and other activities. This is a time to practice the social skills taught day in and out in the PLC in real situations. The expected outcome is to transfer these social skills to different environments.


Relationships are the basis of behavioral management and modification. The PLC Staff are dedicated to working with students who have difficulties managing their behavior and do this through individual relationships with the students. This is a timely process and is indicative of dedicated staff. It is the belief of the PLC that fostering positive relationships are necessary to consistent behavioral intervention and management.

Time outs

Time outs are sometimes necessary to reflect on negative behavior, to process why that behavior has occurred, and to be able to move ahead in the situation in a positive manner. All regulations are followed in the use of time outs and a space is provided for a situation that requires time away from other students and or staff. The space that is used is referred to as the Responsibility Room The Responsibility Room is physically outside the PLC environment and is accessed because a student has acted on a feeling in an inappropriate manner. ALL FEELINGS ARE ALLOWED in the PLC, but ACTIONS ARE LIMITED! This is also posted in the PLC and the Responsibility Room. It is necessary to isolate unwanted actions/behavior as it is disruptive to the PLC environment. It is to the discretion of the PLC when actions/behavior is disruptive and a student is requested to access the Responsibility Room. Time outs usually start at 10 minute increments, but can last as long as the behavior is prevalent and or a situation is not resolved. All time outs are supervised either directly or indirectly depending on the situation. It is the lead teacher’s responsibility of the PLC to ensure that time outs are a necessary intervention and these situations are reported to the administration of Maranacook Middle School.

Respect and Responsibility Point Sheets

Respect and Responsibility Point Sheets, referred to as R&R, are used by each student in the PLC program as a tool to document behavioral and academic performances, a communication system between home and school, and to teach responsibility. It is the students responsibility to pick up the daily R&R and to have it marked off each period by the PLC staff member (or supervising staff at the time) responsible for the student during that time period. It is also the responsibility of the student to have their parent(s) sign off each night and return the R&R the next day to receive credit for the points earned that day. Standard behaviors and personalized behaviors are the means for a student to earn points from period to period. The points are calculated by adding the number of points earned, multiplying by 100 and dividing by the number of total points possible for a student in a day. If the R&R is not returned signed the points are not counted towards the weekly point total. The weekly point total is averaged, divided by the number of days in a week, and calculated. A normal week for R&R Point Totals is from Fridays to Thursdays. This is necessary to ensure a student has earned Community Learning Fridays and that their behavior during the CLF is appropriate.

Respect and Responsibility Level System

The Respect and Responsibility Level System is the way the two core values are operationalized and defined (see R&R point/level system). This system is used as a reference towards how a student is acting in a moment of time in the PLC. It is also used to explain behaviorally where a student is performing over time. R1 is short for respect and R2 is short for responsibility. It is the future goal of the PLC to have a student measured by each of these values using the level system. Responsibility is the action side of respect. It is possible for a student to perform at higher level in terms of respect than responsibility, but it is not possible the responsibility level to be higher than the respect level. When this is distinguished systematically by the PLC Staff, it is our the belief that a student will be able to learn how each core value effects their individual behaviors.


A Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) is available as part of the PLC Program. He is currently available two days a week and interacts within the context of the program. He also facilitates group sessions, individual therapy sessions with and without parents, and is available to support PLC Staff and the Maranacook Middle School Staff and Administration. Individual needs have required a therapists involvement in the program and we have found him to be an integral part of the PLC.

Program Development

The PLC Program is an ongoing process and the above information is an outline of how the program operates. There is more detail to the program, but the development is a continual process. As the needs of individual students dictate and as new students join the program it is necessary to be flexible in program development. Future goals are to update the current R&R Level/Point System, educate the Maranacook Community Staff about the operations of the PLC, refine Community Learning Fridays, and continue PLC Staff education on mental health topics and interventions. Pet therapy is also a interest of the program.

Last Modified: Dec 16, 2010

Maranacook Community Middle School
2100 Millard Harrison Drive, Readfield, ME 04355
Voice: 207.685.3128 Fax: 207.685.9876
Cathy Jacobs, Principal Email: cathy_jacobs@maranacook.org
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