Gregory, the school’s assistant principal, told the students he wants to bring discipline referrals down 35 percent next semester, to make a strong case that the Positive Behavior Support program, which the school has been using for three years, works.
The grant, from the Anniston Community Education Foundation, he said later, would allow the school to add a graduated reward program that could include field trips for students who model the behavior the school wants to promote.
Attempts to reach officials with the foundation were unsuccessful.
The Positive Behavior Support discipline program, or PBS, is a proactive program, Gregory said. Teachers and staff praise a student’s good behavior and hand out “gotcha tickets” when they catch students doing something good, he said. Students who receive the tickets are entered into a drawing for a prize at the end of the week, he said.
“Any given week at Anniston High School we might give out 100 or so gotcha tickets,” Gregory said.
The school system relies on donations of cash and prizes such as gift cards, computer jump drives or notebooks to reward the students. With the grant, Gregory said, he could step up the program and provide more prizes, including a trip for students who consistently act as good role models for their peers.
“The research shows that the more you can get the students to recognize the benefits of doing what they should do anyway, the more it’s going to enhance your environment,” Gregory said.
Additionally, field trips allow students and teachers to get to know each other better outside the school setting. Such personal relationships could allow teachers to have a greater impact on their students, he said.
The Alabama State Department of Education has been promoting PBS as a discipline tool for 13 years, said Malissa Valdes-Hubert, public information manager for the department.
The main goal of PBS is to keep students in the classroom, Valdes-Hubert said.
Gregory agreed, adding that it could decrease the dropout rate, which is one of the goals of the foundation, according to its website.
“You’re keeping students in the classroom, you’re facilitating more quality education,” Gregory said. Students who are pulled out of the classroom often for disciplinary reasons fall behind in their school work. Then, when they feel overwhelmed by how far behind they’ve fallen, the students may give up and quit school, Gregory said.
Since the high school implemented PBS, Gregory said, discipline referrals are down about 23 percent. But he wanted to step that up to 35 percent. The school had 695 referrals last semester, so that would mean the students could receive no more than 451 referrals during the spring semester, he said.
Gregory said asking students to take a hand in bringing down referrals is another step in promoting good behavior, by giving the students responsibility.
“I want to show that it can really be effective,” Gregory said. “That could put us in a better position to get that grant approved.”
The grant is for two years, with a maximum award of $35,000 per year. The deadline to apply is July 16, and the school would know the status of its application within 45 days of the submittal deadline, the foundation’s website states.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.