‘PAWS’itivity is in the air

Middle school develops new rewards system


Middle school students participate in the PAWS assembly on the first day of school.

Morgan Stewart, Staff Writer

To kick off the 2017-2018 school year, The middle school has decided to try out a new school-wide reward system to encourage good behavior.

PAWS is an acronym that stands for “Positive attitude, Accountability for your behavior, Wise and respectful choices and Successful students.” The PAWS program was implemented with the goal of making the school a better place and increasing positivity and productivity by eliminating the  distractions of disruptive behavior.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Misty Slavic applied for a grant at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. With this grant, a group of teachers from each grade were trained at a conference in Hershey and at the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit. They spent part of the 2016-2017 school year and the summer learning about school-wide behavior programs and how to develope their own system.

The summer was spent working on the PAWS program to have it ready to go for the first day of the 2017-2018 school year. The PAWS program is centered around teaching and encouraging good behavior and completing kind acts through rewarding students and preventing negative behavior..The core group is especially focused on teaching what good behavior is, so that the students can know and mimic that behavior.

“We can’t expect students to know how they are expected to behave if they aren’t taught though, so the PAWS program focuses on teaching appropriate and expected behavior in the main areas of the school: the hallway, the bathrooms, the cafeteria, the auditorium, and outdoor areas such as the playground, the track and the bus line,” Gifted Education Coordinator, Ms. Sara Miller said, who was involved with the development of this program, as well as implementing it into this school year.

On the first day, the students went to their homeroom, followed up by a kick-off assembly in the auditorium. The teachers introduced PAWS to the students and they played games and celebrated the students returning to school.

How the system works is that students have opportunities to earn rewards for the good deeds and behavior. Teachers can give out PAWS tickets, which the students can put in a bin for a drawing to win a prize. The prizes range from passes to cut in the lunch line, getting candy, school supplies and gift cards. There is a daily drawing for the winners and the prizes will be changed and switched through the year.

Another addition is the Principal 100 card system, which is another reward-based initiative. Students who are continually good role models are given cards. Each student would take the card to the main office and draw a chip with a number on it. Their card goes in the slot corresponding to the number on their chip. When the row is full, the 10 students in that row get a prize, such as a pizza party, donut breakfast or a gym afternoon. At the end of the year, the students on the Principal 100 board are entered for a drawing to win larger prizes, like a 32-inch television, Beats headphones or an iPad mini. This drawing will be held during Olympic Day, which is planned to be held on May 25, 2018.

One of the changes made in the middle school is that they are trying to enforce safer hallway conditions. There is a line in the middle of the hallway that divides it into halves. Each side is designated to go up and down the hall. To go from one side of the hallway to the other, the students must go down the hallway and come back around to go with the flow of traffic. This change was made to decrease chaos in the halls and to get the students to their classes safely.

PAWS is going to be used to change the culture of the middle school and keep encouraging positive behavior. The administration uses grants and community donations to get more prizes.

The administration is very hopeful for this program to succeed. They plan on keeping up with this program as long as they can, so long as it continues to serve its purpose and they can keep enthusiasm and interest into it.