Behavior Gets Bump to Positive

By Parrish, Tory N | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

Behavior Gets Bump to Positive


Parrish, Tory N, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Honor-roll student Alexis Bialota will have gourmet cheesecake because of advanced algebra.

"I was in math class and I noticed that a student had put a problem on the board wrong. So I raised my hand and told the teacher that the answer was wrong and how to correct the problem. And I had done it again for another problem," said Alexis, 15.

For her actions, the Plum Senior High School sophomore won a Cheesecake Factory gift card through the school's Principal's 180 Club.

Students whom teachers and administrators observe doing good deeds are entered into a raffle, Assistant Principal Michael Loughren said. A winner is picked every three weeks, and the winner's parents are notified, he said.

The new club is part of a schoolwide, positive-behavior support program, the number of which are increasing significantly nationwide.

They encourage positive student behavior, experts said, by using research-based instruction plans centered around behavior, social skills and academics.

They also include incentives.

"It's really helping with just focusing on the positives within the school and makes people start talking about the good things that are going on in education," Loughren said.

The number of U.S. schools implementing positive-behavior support programs increased 28 percent to 18,277 from August 2011 and this month, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

"The more schools hear about it and the more schools see the benefit of implementing this type of positive-behavior framework, they're encouraged to sign on," said Kelly M. Vaillancourt, director of government relations at the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, Md.

Studies link the programs to improved academic performance and decreases in office discipline referrals, expulsions and suspensions, said Vaillancourt. She said the programs have existed on a large scale since 1997.

Vaillancourt said effective programs include school social workers, counselors and psychologists.

The most effective programs have strong parental involvement, experts said.

"Not every student is going to respond to just being caught being good," she said. …

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