Art students at Sierra Vista team up to promote positive behavior with new mural


Art students at Sierra Vista Middle School were recently tasked with illustrating some of the concepts behind a schoolwide program that promotes positive behavior. And they did such a good job that they’ve been asked to turn their designs into a new campus mural.

muralColleen Cosgrove, a teacher at Sierra Vista, said her Art 2 students have been working for three weeks on the project, vividly conveying the themes of responsibility, respect and integrity.

“The concept of a mural is a great project as the students learn about community, giving of their talent and working together on one piece,” she said. “Many voices and hands are creating one piece of art.”

It didn’t exactly start out that way. The initial assignment was for students to develop their own graphic ideas to depict Sierra Vista’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program, or PBIS. Embraced by a number of Irvine schools, PBIS is essentially a framework of evidence-based interventions designed to promote positive social behavior. Experts say it also contributes to improved academic performance.

Cosgrove said her students produced some inspiring work independently, and she shared their creations with Principal Lynn Matassarin, who brought them to a PBIS meeting. That group was impressed enough to commission the mural, which is expected to be completed sometime this week.

“The (Sierra Vista) students and staff have enjoyed watching the progress on a day-to-day basis,” Cosgrove said. “I am so proud of my students, and even better is witnessing the pride they take in their work.”