Positive things are happening at Warren County High School and it’s all due to the school wide positive behavior support system being implemented this year.
WCHS returning students knew this year was going to be different when they were treated to teachers Jimmy Haley and Judy Thomas holding “Welcome Back” signs and waving and yelling at passersby on the first day of school. WCHS executive principal Tony Cassel and his staff were also outside wearing matching “WCHS STAFF” T-shirts while directing traffic.
The drum line was outside the gym doors playing music before school started. Students Griffin Winton, Lucy Haston, Daniel Sheets and Stephen Roberts played music and sang during lunch and after school both on Thursday and Friday.
All of these things are part of the positive behavior support system, which focuses on accentuating the positive things students are doing and rewarding good behavior.
“We are trying to change the climate in the building and get kids excited about being here as much as possible which is only going to help academically,” said Cassel. “The kids will feel more connected with the school. The tendency in education has been when kids act up, to respond reactively and typically punish them, and obviously there are consequences of bad behavior, but why not take time to let kids know what the good behaviors are and focus on good behavior? We are trying to focus on that this year and get kids excited about being back in school.”
When teachers see students enacting positive behaviors, they will reward them with “Pioneer Paychecks.” Students can accumulate Pioneer Paychecks and use them on incentives offered throughout the school year such as attendance to the WCHS Winter Olympics being held this year, use as a free pass to leave third period early and be first in line for lunch, or use as a pass to receive a T-shirt and ride on the positive behavior homecoming float during the parade.
At end of the year, Pioneer Paychecks can be used to pre-pay for lockers and parking spots to be used the following year. This way students won’t have to get to school an hour before registration and wait in line as has been typical in the past.
Cassel and his staff met with all grades and explained the new behavior support system to the students. The students filled out surveys adding incentives they would like to see the Pioneer Paychecks used for. Suggestions were to have a cookout and to have Thanksgiving dinner prepared for them by culinary arts students.
“The kids really enjoyed hearing their classmates sing. They have asked if we can have open mike days. I think we are definitely going to do it. We just need to look into are we doing it once a month, twice a month, etc. We will do it, we just need to finalize the details,” said Cassel.
Cassel said, “If kids don’t know math, we teach them math. If they don’t know how to read, we teach them how to read. If they don’t know what’s expected of them or what proper behavior is, our tendency is to punish. Why not take time to make clear expectations of what is expected of them when they are in the halls, in the classroom, in the bus ramp?”
Cassel says these are four overriding rules to live by and the WCHS mnemonic is used:
• Work responsibly
• Come prepared
• Have respect
• Stay safe.