DJJ Cares: District 8 builds a “Free Little Library”
Story support from Mary Catherine Heard
In partnership with Columbus Parks and Recreation, DJJ employees in District 8 recently built and painted a “Little Free Library” in Muscogee County. Little Free Library is an international non-profit that aims to instill the love of reading through neighborhood book exchanges. The organization also aims to increase access to books for low-income communities.
The goal of this project is to increase literacy rates in high-risk Muscogee County communities. Many children there do not have access to a local library. District 8 and Columbus Parks and Recreation held a book drive in which employees and members of the community collected books for all age groups. Employees will ensure the library remains stocked and maintained. The two shelf wooden structure will run just like a traditional library. Children who take a book are asked to return it when they are finished reading it. Studies show that when youth succeed scholastically, they are less likely to be placed in the juvenile justice system. District 8 and Columbus Parks and Recreation thank those who donated books and other reading materials to the library.
DJJ staff members continue to remain committed to giving back to the communities in which they serve.
Story support from Summer Sanders and PBIS Director Janette Nihles
The Loftiss Regional Youth Detention Center’s (Loftiss RYDC) Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Team (PBIS) recently was awarded a statewide award for having the highest overall Facility Evaluation Tool (FET) score (98/100) for PBIS organizations at the Department of Juvenile Justice. FET testing is conducted twice per year to gauge the effectiveness of the PBIS program in specific juvenile facilities. Judge Thomas Jefferson accepted the award on behalf of the Loftiss RYDC. This is the second time this year that the Loftiss RYDC has obtained the top score for FET.
PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. More than 23,000 U.S. schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student over the counter behavior, will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve the school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj/.
PBIS at DJJ: Elbert Shaw RYDC Employee of the Month John Edgerton
Photos and information provided by Lt. Kristen Nix. Story and design by Mary Catherine Heard
The Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) announced that JCO II John Edgerton was recently named the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Employees of the Month for the facility. The PBIS Employee of the Month award is open to all in fields of Safety and Security, Medical, Counselors, Mental Health, Education, Food Service, Maintenance, Business, Personnel, Support Staff and Administration.
To become the PBIS Employee of the Month at the Elbert Shaw RYDC, employees must:
• Possess a positive attitude towards work responsibilities, co-workers, and youth and be willing to serve as a role model for others.
• Show a willingness to exercise servant-leadership, take initiative and accept and carry out additional responsibilities beyond regular job assignments for the good of DJJ.
• Be consistent, dependable and punctual in reporting for duty.
Officer John Edgerton is admired by his co-workers and supervisors for his dependability and work ethic. Officer Edgerton has been with DJJ for over 10 years and is credited for boosting morale at Elbert Shaw RYDC and keeping a positive attitude. Considered a team-player, he maintains “a good-working relationship with all departments within the facility” even during stressful situations. He is polite to both the youth and staff at Elbert Shaw. According to his supervisors, “The students look up to him and he has earned their respect by the way he treats them. He definitely stands out as what type of character an employee should demonstrate. He cares for the youth in our facility and tries to teach them something while they are here.” DJJ thanks Officer Edgerton for his service and commitment.
PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. More than 23,000 U.S. schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior, will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve the school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj.
Congratulations to Mindy Ackerman-- Selected Central Office Employee of the Month for July 2017!
Please join me in celebrating Mrs. Mindy Ackerman for being selected as the Central Office Employee of the Month.
Mindy Ackerman serves as the Sex Offender Treatment Services Administrator. Mrs. Ackerman was initially hired to operate sex offender treatment services as a subset of programs and counseling services. It soon became apparent that this service area, critical from both a legal and a treatment perspective, warranted its own specific division. Utilizing her extensive experience working in both sex offender treatment facilities and DJJ facilities, Mrs. Ackerman, who is a licensed clinical social worker, has overseen the development of Sex Offender Treatment into its own service deliver area. Her efforts have brought order and oversight to the sexually harmful behaviors treatment program.
Mrs. Ackerman has spearheaded the implementation of a SHBP Panel and a review process for both youth in the community and facilities. This multi disciplinary panel reviews cases of our sexually harmful youth and makes recommendations regarding treatment, reentry and placement options. The words, “That’s not my job,” are not in Mrs. Ackerman’s vocabulary. She works tirelessly with facility staff, but also with community staff, community providers, the Office of Legal Services, and anyone else who requests her help.
“Mindy is one of the most dedicated and caring individuals that I have ever worked with in regards to ensuring the safety and rehabilitation of the youth and families that we serve. While she holds our youth accountable for their actions, she also works tirelessly to ensure that the youth receive adequate treatment services and assist with their successful, transition back to the community. Mindy always makes herself available to participate in the review of difficult cases and takes the time to thoroughly review the cases and offer her insight.” Richard Fox, Statewide Case Expeditor.
Mindy Ackerman is a true asset to DJJ, to the youth that we serve, and to our community.
The Employee of the Month Committee
NOMINATION PROCESS DJJ’s Employee of the Month Recognition Program – How Nominees Are Selected
Beginning January 2015, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice kicks-off its first “Employee of the Month” program for Central Office employees. Names of nominees are selected by the DJJ Executive Team from members of their units or divisions and submitted to be recognized as the Central Office Employee of the Month. Included with the nomination is a one page write-up detailing why the staff member should be given consideration to be selected Employee of the Month.
Then each month, the Nomination Committee makes their selection for the employee to receive public appreciation the following month. The written nomination is reviewed and signed by Commissioner Avery D. Niles and posted for public recognition on the DJJ “News & Views” website. Each nominee selected by the committee will be recognized at a monthly DJJ Board Meeting and entitled to use the Employee of the Month parking space reserved at Central Office.
The DJJ Central Office Employee of the Month award is intended to recognize and support those stand-out DJJ team members who bring additional motivation, determination and vigor to the workplace through their personal ethics, advocacy, positive attitudes and innovative solutions to impact the professional challenges faced by their dedicated colleagues and the troubled youth they serve.
District Ten in the Community: Thomasville Literary Fun Fest
Photo and story information from JPM Shalonda Brinson
Recently, the Thomas County Community Services Office (Thomas CSO) embraced the importance of reading for the future of Georgia's youth and local communities by participating in the Summer Literacy Fun Fest in Thomasville on June 16th. Hosted by Thomasville City Schools, the Summer Literacy Fun Fest focused on introducing the community to Ventures on Broad, a fun therapeutic program designed to help children and adolescents with mental health disorders. The Summer Literacy Fun Fest also introduced the Footsteps 2 Brilliance literacy program. That program provides the opportunity for parents and organizations to register their kids for reading programs around town.
JPPS Orlando Coleman with JPM Shalonda Brinson
Featuring giveaways, face painting, food, vendors and storybook style games for the kids to enjoy, the Summer Literacy Fun Fest provided something of interest to everyone who attended. Thomas CSO JPPS Orland Coleman and JPM Shalonda Brinson operated a DJJ information table with literature and spoke about juvenile justice issues to all who were interested.
The Department of Juvenile Justice thanks the Thomas CSO Team and District Ten for their ongoing commitment to community improvement.