WW putting focus on positive behavior in a new way

By: 
Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer

Superintendent Keith Nance teaches about kindness as a mirror — the mirror responds the way you do — assisted by sixth grader Collin Hasty.

Things are changing at West Washington Schools. 

At the start of the school year, junior high students were separated into houses and introduced to a list of Senator Statutes, rules for life the school hopes to instill in them before they leave the school. In the elementary, students were recently introduced to a list of expectations as well.

Teachers and staff led students in groups to different stations, instructing them on exactly how they should behave in the halls, the drop-off line, in the stands at sporting events, on the bus and everywhere they go, in and out of school, including in cyberspace.

It’s a part of the school’s PBIS initiative — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — which focuses on rewarding good behavior rather than only punishing bad choices.

“It is a shift of thinking from negative consequences to positive reinforcements and teaching skills,” said Kelly Williams, director of instructional technology. “It’s thinking of behavior as a skill and negative behavior as a skill deficit, just like a student may have a reading deficit or a math deficit. If the student didn’t know how to do a math problem, we’d intervene and reteach. Often when students behave badly, we just punish and we don’t intervene and reteach.”

See the full story in The Salem Leader.

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