Cooper Kids Practice PBIS: Recite the Purple Hands Pledge - from The Messenger
by: Brandon L. Summers
At Cooper Elementary, students are rewarded for their good behavior under the Fort Dodge Community School District's positive behavior intervention supports program.
"PBIS is all built on setting the expectations and then giving positives for when we see those expectations followed, and trying to build on a five-to-one positive-to-negative response to kids," Bruce Hartley, Cooper Elementary principal, said.
Acknowledging one student's good behavior can have a positive impact on an entire class, Hartley said.
"If there are a couple of students who are out of their seats, it's obvious they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, instead of the teacher addressing them right away, it's interesting how powerful it is when a teacher says, I like the way you're sitting down following directions, or, you're right on task following directions," he said.
The student performing the expected behavior is then rewarded with a "buzz slip."
"The kids that aren't on task at that point, it will shape them up," Hartley said. "They'll sit down and get to what they're supposed to be doing very quickly if they think they're going to be acknowledged for doing the right thing."
Cooper students also recite the Purple Hands Pledge.
"The Purple Hands Pledge is something that the kids will say every morning, after they say the Pledge of Allegiance, and it says, 'I will not use my hands or my words for hurting myself or others," Hartley said. "It's a way to remind kids, every morning, we're not going to push and shove, we're not going to say mean things."
PBIS, along with other efforts, including Character Counts and Rachel's Challenge, have helped to improve the school's climate and culture, Hartley said.
"Maybe the biggest thing is, we've seen more positive behavior in the students. We're recognizing more positive behavior," he said. "Before, we knew there were those kids that were doing things right and doing things well, but they didn't get that acknowledgement as much as some students got acknowledged for acting up."
He added, "PBIS has really helped us to realize, we need to pay attention to those good kids, those kids that following the rules ... rather than just always giving attention to those kids that have bad behavior."
It's important for students at an early age to learn about being kind to each other, Hartley said.
"I think if all of the people in society would follow Character Counts and the Purple Hands Pledge, the whole premise of Rachel's Challenge, with being nice to each other and including other people, really having a good feeling about who they are and carding for other," he said, "we'd have a lot less problems in society."