Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IL: Students reap the rewards for positive behavioral program

By David Heitz, dheitz@mysuburbanlife.com
Westmont Progress
Tue Nov 17, 2009, 03:49 PM CST


Westmont, IL -

Students at Miller School in Westmont will take some time off their studies this week as reward for good behavior and discipline as part of the school’s behavioral initiative.

The school is holding a Board Game Day Friday, Nov. 20, as part of its Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program in which students who follow the steps of the program are rewarded with activity days throughout the year.

Principal Kelly Baas said the school has been using the PBIS program for about five years as a way for students to understand behavioral expectations not only in the classroom, but on school busses, bathrooms, outdoor playgrounds and other areas of the school.

Each particular area has a specific set of rules of what we expect from the kids, and these are taught to them during the school year,” Baas said, “Things such as how to line up, how to behave on the bus, don’t yell and procedures like that. Each section has a list of those procedures.”

Fourth grade teacher Steve Ritz serves as the school’s PBIS coordinator. He said the program is refereed to in the school as “The Miller Way.”

He said many parents have commented on how their child is motivated to do well in order to earn the many different positive reinforcements we offer.

“One hundred percent of our staff is on board with the ideas and concepts behind PBIS and have commented that students are more respectful, responsible and safe,” Ritz said.

Students who exemplify those rules during the school year are rewarded through “Mustang Moola,” play paper money they can then cash in for various activities during the year. The game day is one of those activities, available to students who have earned 40 Mustang Moola, Baas said.

Teachers and specialists use the bucks as rewards in the classrooms for following classroom expectations, Ritz said.

“Anybody who sees students following the Miller Way expectations can give out Mustang Moola,” he said.

During the game day, students will be broken up into different classrooms where they will be playing board games based on various age groups, with the younger students playing games such as Chutes and Ladders and Candyland, and older students playing games like checkers and card games. Some games have been loaned to the school by parents and staff members for the event.

Parents have also created ‘life size” games that will be used, Baas said.

“We have one parent that has created a giant checkerboard, with the idea of the kids actually playing board pieces,” Baas said. “We’re not sure if that is going to work since there will be a number of kids playing at the same time, and may use something else as game pieces.”

Other PBIS initiative events set for later in the school year will include a movie/pajama party day and a beach party planned for later in the year, plus the end of the year finale which is still in the planning stages, Baas said.

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