Recently at Shaler Area High School, a team of teachers and administrators came together to create a new positive behavior reinforcement system for students. The new system consists of awarding paper bricks as recognition to selected students.
These positive behavior bricks are meant to recognize and reinforce students who execute positive acts and good behavior. Rather than focusing solely on negative recognition, like discipline, the team hopes to work towards other acknowledgment, too, for students who are doing what they are supposed to, and even more.
Organized by Assistant Principal, Ms. Heather Berney, who has been working on Positive Behavioral Intervention and Services (PBIS) since 2011, the bricks are symbolic to building the bridge of Pride, Respect, and Honor, the school’s motto.
Art teacher, Mr. Dave Boyles, originally drew and designed the school’s bridge logo along with the motto written along the pillars. Working with a student group two summers ago, Berney agreed to use bricks as the reward, to build the bridge of excellence.
“It really came from the student group and the ideas they came up with. It ties in neatly to that whole idea of the bridge; that we are bridging you guys from high school to adulthood and all of these positive things are a part of building all of that,” Berney said.
As for the process of giving and receiving these special bricks, every staff member at the high school was given bricks to give out to any student that performs an act worthy of recognition. If the teacher sees something but does not personally know the student, he/she is expected to have a conversation with the student, explaining why they are being recognized.
From there, the teacher writes the student’s name and grade level on the brick, which is given to the student to place in the allotted grade box in front of the main office.
Berney keeps track of every student whose name was entered and each individual receives a Titan Buck for the Titan Shop in the activities office. Then, once a week she will pick a name from each grade at random. The selected student will receive a $5 gift card to Sheetz.
Finally, a large raffle will take place in which all of the students’ names are put together. The student selected will receive a larger reward, which could include a $25 gift card or such.
After already being implemented, Berney hopes that this will become a daily part of life at the high school, with positive behavior becoming much more widespread.
“I am hoping that everybody, teachers and students alike, really begin to see that all of these banners about Pride, Respect, and Honor are important. This is what it looks like in practice and this is something that we do and how we do life here at Shaler Area. I’m excited to see how this rolls out,” she said.
To read more on what our staff thinks about the bricks click here!