At PS231 we offer a lot to our students in terms of behavior management. We firmly believe that our students have the ability to learn to manage their own behavior. The majority of our staff is trained in Life Space Crisis Intervention and we use these skills not only to “de-escalate” crises but also to teach students new tools that will help them to manage future conflict on their own. We seek to maintain a level of consistency throughout our day and have even extended our programs to include the bus, which is a problem area for many of our students. All of the items on the menu of behavior management programs that we offer are meant to reach the needs of all of our students. No two students are alike and no two students respond to our programs in the same way.
Students receive daily achievement reports that track their progress toward specific behavior goals on a period by period basis. The points earned are tabulated week by week. At the end of each week, students who have earned a designated number of points have the opportunity to participate in “Clubs.” Each “club” is different based on the range that their weekly points fall in (gold, silver or bronze). The pointsheet, as we call it, also serves as a means of communication between the school and the parent/guardian. Pointsheets go home daily and a signature is required when the pointsheet is brought back the next day. Teachers often write notes and attach homework or school bulletins to a student’s pointsheet. Parents often write notes back to the classroom staff on the pointsheet as well.
Pointsheets are part of our larger CHAMPS (Choices, Honesty, Academics, Motivation, Purpose, Self-respect) program. The goal of the CHAMPS program is to improve student behavior through the use of tangible and intangible rewards. We keep track of all of the points that students earn on a week to week basis. The total number of these points is calculated and students are placed on different levels according to those totals. Each level comes with it’s own rewards and privileges. These privileges range from a certificate and a pencil to a framed picture on a special bulletin board coupled with special school privileges and special field trips.
The CIA (Caught In the Act) program targets behaviors in school and rewards students with tickets when they are “caught in the act” of doing them. The PBIS committee isolates the behaviors in our mantra and focuses on each on through the use of the Cool Tools and Second Step programs taught by each classroom teacher. One part of the mantra is focused on at a time and students are immersed in lessons about that behavior. They are then rewarded when they are “caught in the act” of demonstrating what they have learned throughout the day. We add behaviors as the year progresses until we have introduced all five elements. Students collect their tickets and they are able to redeem them for rewards on different levels ranging from an ice cream sundae to a special field trip. We hope that by catching students doing the right thing we will change the climate of our school because our students will know that the entire staff is looking for them to do well. Often times, we focus on the negative behaviors and lose sight of the fact that our students do the “right thing” too. We seek to change the mindset of both the student and staff by looking for these positive interactions.
The CBGB (Caught Behaving on the Bus) program places the reward system in the hands of the bus drivers and bus escorts. We worked with the bus teams to determine which behaviors we really needed to focus on. In the bus environment we expect students to be in their seats with their seat belts on; to be respectful to both the adults and students on the bus; to keep their hands, feet and other objects to themselves; and to follow directions. The bus team awards points to each student based on the number of behaviors each student demonstrates on both their morning and afternoon bus rides. Points are tallied and redeemed for various prized in a student store. These prizes range from toys to free activity periods. At the end of each month, the bus with the highest number of points is rewarded with a party in the cafeteria, at a special table, during the lunch period. We also reward the adults on the bus with modest gift certificates because it is their hard work that makes the program possible and we need their support. Additionally, we hold workshops to support the bus teams in any areas they need assistance in and maintain an open line of communication with them.