Keystone Oaks School District News Article

Keystone Oaks: Showing Pride, Excellence, and Respect

KO is doing things "The Eagle Way."

Starting this year at Keystone Oaks High School, there is a new behavioral system in place which is being enforced by the principal, teachers, and a committee.

PBIS is short for SWPBIS which stands for School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support. PBIS has been around for 15 years and has been implemented in the district for a few years now. It first presented itself in the three elementary schools, was started in the middle school just last year, and has now made its way into the high school.

“Research shows that, if we acknowledge the positive things that students are doing, then simply by acknowledging them, that you can change behavior in a positive way and can foster a more positive school culture just by pointing out what is done right,” said the highschool librarian and PBIS committee member, Jackie Neely.

The PBIS structure and purpose is to reward, recognize, and acknowledge good behavior done by students. By rewarding this good behavior, it shows students that by continuing to do good and practicing what is expected of you, you will be appreciated.

The hopes of this program is to reward students, rather than continuously giving out punishments.

Guidance counselor Nicole Varrenti explained, “The purpose of it is to provide consistency with rules and expectations and to promote a positive school culture and school environment. So rather than constantly punishing or giving out consequences for kids doing the wrong thing, this is taking a more positive spin where it’s recognizing the students doing the right thing.”

The PBIS committee is made up of the principal, counselors, and a few teachers and staff here at the high school. They meet every two weeks to discuss the rules and future ideas. Students were also recently presented with the opportunity to join and share their voices and opinions to the committee.

This past summer for three days, the committee sat down, educated themselves further about PBIS, and chose the expectations and the foundation that they would set for the students here at Keystone Oaks.

At this meeting, they also set in stone three words for the school’s PBIS motto which best represented Keystone Oaks: Pride, Respect, and Excellence.

The area the PBIS program is focusing on first is the hallway and the new rules and expectations that are now being executed. A few of the hallway expectations consist of: moving with a purpose, keeping objects to yourselves, arriving to class on time, keeping the hallways clean, respecting teachers, staff, and peers, and keeping one ear clear.

The committee plans on furthering this system well throughout this school year and the next school years to come.

Acting Principal Michael Linnert said, “Not only is it something that’s here to say, it’s something here to stay because it has a purpose and has a lot of great benefits to it. “

Tickets are given here in the high school as a reward system. When a student shows their Pride, Excellence, and Respect in the hallway, they get rewarded with a ticket from a teacher or staff member. Students then have the opportunity to enter their ticket into a drawing.

Tickets are earned when teachers recognize high schoolers following and respecting the rules. Students can easily earn tickets by cleaning up trash, helping others, and using only one earbud. An example, freshman Eriona Neal received a ticket for walking on the right side of the hallway despite everyone else not following the flow.  

A few winners are chosen every two weeks during both the upper class and lower class lunch periods. Winners receive prizes such as gift cards and KO gear for their behavior.

Although all the teachers and staff members have been seeing tremendous amounts of improvement in following the hallway rules, there are mixed feelings about the PBIS system throughout the student body.

Some kids feel the rules and expectations are doing well and enjoy earning tickets for their good behavior, while other students feel that a ticket incentive should not be needed and that students should follow the rules no matter what, because that should be expected of them.

Theresa Sarsfield, a sophomore, thinks earning the tickets and the program as a whole is a great way to promote better behavior within our school.

Sarsfield said,”I have the motivation to do the right thing and get rewarded for it.”

Kyle Le, who is also a sophomore, has a slightly different opinion on the matter. He believes that despite the tickets, people should always be following the school’s expectations for students.

Le said, “People are doing good things expecting to get something in return.”

Hopefully, PBIS will be a success here in the high school and encourage students to always show their Pride, Excellence, and Respect.

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