How one school structures their positive behavior program and student incentives.

Donna Berghauser knew that she wanted to become an educator from a young age. She was fortunate enough to have inspirational teachers in Elementary school who influenced her to become an educator and positively impact students just like her teachers did for her. As the school psychologist at McLane Middle School in Brandon, Florida, the students and her colleagues are her main source of inspiration. She loves that McLane has a great group of educators who like to think outside the box and bring a fresh perspective and new ideas.

For the past 10 years, McLane has been plagued with behavioral challenges. Three years ago, McLane had an opportunity to start fresh with a new team—and a reformation process began. They kicked off a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program (PBIS) in the hopes of increasing teacher morale and impacting student outcomes. Since then, they’ve been laser-focused on reinforcing positive behaviors though PBIS, and have been integrating Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) into daily classroom instruction.

The Four B’s

Focusing on the positive has helped to improve McLane’s campus climate and boost staff morale. PBIS is widely supported by the district, so all trained team members have been fortunate enough to take the Florida PBIS project training. McLane structured their tracked PBIS behaviors around what Donna explains as the four B’s – Be Academically Focused, Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe. McLane’s school culture is built around these four principles which guides everything that they do at the school.

McLane previously managed their PBIS program manually, and used paper “money” along with a third-party database to manage points and incentives for their program. They turned to Hero because they found it cumbersome to track behaviors, incentives and rewards using their previous system. Hero puts all these PBIS components together in one place—a more practical solution for busy teachers. And there is the added benefit of being able to look at behavioral data—positive and negative—to see if there’s a reduction in disciplinary trends.

“The teachers are so much more excited about a program that does not require additional paperwork.”

Timely incentives keep students motivated throughout the year

As part of their positive behavior program, McLane students can redeem their positive behavior points for weekly, monthly, quarterly, and end of year incentives.

Weekly incentives can be purchased for 25 points and are structured around lunch time activities, like eating with friends on the patio, playing basketball at the courts, or spending the hour in the media center to check out books and/ or play video games. Students can also redeem 25 points to spend time in an electronic zone which is setup on Friday. The electronic zone includes Xboxes and movement based games that students can participate in.

Monthly incentives can be purchased for 100 points and usually include something seasonal. At Thanksgiving, students had lunch served by the teaching staff and enjoyed a special dessert. At Halloween, students could decorate cookies or get special grab bags.

Quarterly incentives are worth 250 points. Students can redeem points for larger events like a “Movie Day,” (complete with popcorn) or a dance in the cafeteria. These larger events celebrate students that have good behavior and consistent attendance.

End-of-Year incentives are for students that have racked up 500, which can be exchanged for a field day, called “Viking Fest”. Students are required to save points to meet that level and attend, but they find that it’s worth it to participate in the fun.

Hopes for the future

So far, McLane’s positive behavior program has caught on and is working well. Positive behaviors have increased, and students stay excited and motivated throughout the year because of the staggered incentives. Donna hopes McLane evolves to a place where students will not only be excited to come to school but feel safe and valued. She feels that the positive behavior program is an integral part in bringing this to fruition.

We look forward to continue to work with Donna and the team at McLane to help them exceed their goals.