Turner Woods Elementary School held a motivation and celebration pep rally at the end of the day Aug. 9 to help teach students about positive behaviors through a strategy called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
Jeffrey Tharpe, principal of Turner Woods Elementary School, said the school has been using PBIS for three years now. He said this pep rally was also a great way for the children to get to know him and assistant principal, Dana Hutchinson.
“PBIS is basically a classroom behavior management that focuses on the positives,” he said. “We have Trooper Bucks that teachers can give as a reward. They make good choices and do good behaviors to earn them.”
If students display a good behavior, the principal said they get a Trooper Buck ticket they can use as a reward for an ice cream or being entered into a drawing to win something. He said rewarding the students encourages them to keep doing good deeds.
“We have our matrix which is to be responsible, be respectful and be safe. They learn what a good behavior is. It’s picking up trash after lunch, washing your hands, helping someone else out, keeping your hands to yourself, and being safe. It’s those sort of things,” Tharpe said.
He said the pep rally was also to have a bit of fun at the end of the day.
Hutchinson said these demonstrations also teach the children what they should be doing.
“We show our students positive behavior by showing them what we expect to see in the building,” she said. “This is so our kids can be safe, respectful and responsible. We talked about what behaviors we expect through various locations in the school.”
The students got a run down of how to act in the cafeteria, bathroom, classroom, hallway, gym, and the media center. Tharpe said the characters helped to show the children what to do in a friendly and fun way.
“We had some fun music in the gym and teachers that wanted to do the KiKi Dance,” the principal said. “We had our tiger mascot demonstrating good behavior, and some fun characters modeling what a good choice is and what not a good choice is.”
The students got to watch the fun and also did a bit of dancing of their own. Tharpe said some of the students on the school dance team were allowed to be cheerleaders to help pump up the students about PBIS.
The principal said older students aren’t as involved with a PBIS program, so he wants to start them early in setting positive behaviors. While not all schools in Jones County have this strategy set in place, Hutchinson said they all mostly have some sort of core values to follow.
“Our middle schools have their expectations as well, typically having something centered around being respectful, responsible and safe, althought it may not sound exactly like that. It does transfer all the way up to the high school level,” Hutchinson said.
Tharpe and Hutchinson both said they will continue to use the PBIS strategy to encourage good behavior. They feel students who do good things in the school should be rewarded for that behavior.
“The atmosphere and culture we want to promote and continue to promote is letting students know this is the safest and most positive place they can be,” Tharpe said. “And those good behaviors are reinforced with us because it’s reinforced with the teachers.”