Niagara-Wheatfield's Errick Road Elementary School began the 2017-18 school year by implementing a new school-wide framework for developing positive behavior called PBIS. PBIS stands for positive behavior interventions and support. PBIS is a statewide-recognized system geared toward teaching students proper behavior, and then rewards students and classes that demonstrate those desired behaviors.
Principal Nora O'Bryan and her PBIS team worked on three to five behavioral expectations that would be easy for students to remember, which are: we are safe, we are respectful and we are responsible. A matrix was created of what each of the expectations would look like, sound like and feel like in the school wide areas.
To get the students more engaged they made the theme of their initiative a Star Wars one and called it May the Falcon Force Be With You - the falcon being the district's mascot. The school year started off with a kickoff assembly. The assembly was used to promote the new PBIS framework and explain to students how they could earn Falcon cash and golden tickets by showing positive behaviors throughout the school. Teachers dressed up as Star Wars characters and O'Bryan introduced them by explaining how the characters showed the preferred behaviors expected at Errick Road.
The school's approach is to reward students for demonstrating positive behaviors. Falcon cash is given to students when they show positive behaviors and golden tickets are given to the classroom when the entire class works together to show positive behaviors. Students and classrooms can cash in their tickets to purchase items at the school store known as the Galaxy Market. Golden tickets are cashed in to purchase classroom activities (disco party, pizza party, Lego party, extra P.E. etc.)
Also, every month, one student was chosen from every grade level that displays exemplary character and the Falcon Force expectations. The students are called Fabulous Falcons. A picture is taken and a brief description is written up about why they were chosen and displayed in the front foyer of the school. They are honored at monthly assemblies and given a falcon pendant. School staff also send postcards home to students for positive behaviors throughout the school year.
Teacher Anthony Vekich said, "Overall, the PBIS framework has made an impact on the Errick Road community this past school year. We are using common language, and children know the expectations in each area of their school environment. The assemblies, special recognition awards, school store shopping experiences and golden ticket parties have added so much positivity towards working and learning every day. We as educators feel PBIS is an opportunity to continue to foster kids' intrinsic motivation, while also allowing them some fun and extrinsic rewards along the way. At Errick Road we teach children positive expected behaviors and how to feel good about doing the 'right' thing."
The staff sent a special thank you to O'Bryan and the B.E.N. parent group for supporting and funding PBIS. Thanks to them, the school was able to purchase school store items, and other incentives for the children of Errick Road. Without the actively involved parents, PBIS would not be as successful as it's been.