School uses positive reinforcement to lessen office referrals

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - An Independence County school is taking a new approach to discipline this school year, trying to focus on positive behavior rather than the negative.

The administration at Eagle Mountain Magnet Elementary School noticed they were getting a lot of office referrals for a variety of reasons.

"Our leadership team really wanted something that was uniform and set out expectations students K-6 in the classroom, in the cafeteria, and in the activity classes," Assistant Principal Janetta Castleman said.

That code of conduct encourages students to be ready, be respectful, and be responsible at all times.

Teachers presented the expectations to the students at the beginning of the school year and now when teachers catch students on their best behavior they are given tickets, which can be exchanged for rewards each Friday.

Those rewards are an array of small toys and privileges like extra recess or computer time during the school day.

"You think that kids know the expected behavior or what it means to be respectful and what it means to be responsible and those are things we have to teach kids," Castleman said. "And the best way to teach is to reinforce when you see something positive going on."

The school also implemented a program that requires students to have three letters of concern that are sent home and handled in the classroom before they are sent to the principal's office.

"So it's not one strike and you're out kind of deal for kids," Castleman said. "And we've found that it works."

There were only 10 students who got an office referral during the first nine weeks of school, which is down from last year and means they missed out on the end-of-quarter celebration.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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