The students and staff of Scott County Middle School have taken school pride to a whole new level through the introduction of a school-wide positive behavior program called CARDS, an acronym which aligns perfectly with the school’s mascot. At SCMS, it is better known as Guidelines for Success:
Do Your Best
Principal Jennifer Sutton, School Psychologist Cristina Green and a dedicated planning committee started work on the program last year using guidelines from the Safe and Civil Schools Foundations Program as a starting point to tailor the program to the specific expectations for behavior at SCMS as well as the specific needs of students.
Green was quick to clarify that these guidelines are not rules in the traditional sense but instead serve as goals for personal conduct. The goals are based on extensive data gathered by school personnel who identified areas of need throughout the school in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, cafeteria, assemblies and during arrival/dismissal times. Using these common areas, the committee identified specific expectations for student behavior in each category and positively stated each expectation in a behavior matrix. During the summer, all teachers had an opportunity to review and refine the expectations and provide input on the program before the start of the school year.
When students arrived at Scott County Middle School in August, they learned of the program, the expectations for their own behavior and how they could show positive behavior throughout the building every day. Posters in the hallways and classrooms serve as constant reminders of the school’s commitment to positive behavior and the common language shared by students and staff. Students are now able review the behavior matrix and monitor their own behavior as well as identify areas for needed improvement. And, most importantly, they like it.
“Students love it, they absolutely love getting CARDS tickets,” commented Green, “it is incredible to see how this program motivates students in a way I never thought it would.” The psychologist added that the school is continually gathering data to document the program’s growth and success.
When adults in the building see students show a positive example of a behavior they can award the student a CARDS ticket. For every ticket earned students have the opportunity to enter a raffle for prizes given away during monthly CARDS rallies. These assemblies are used to reinforce positive behavior and reward students who are making a commitment to the program. In the month of November, students at SCMS earned almost 1000 tickets for positive behavior.
Principal Jennifer Sutton has seen discipline referrals decrease by 42% from last year. “You can see the power of positive reinforcement,” Sutton stated.
The CARDS program has resulted in a culture shift at SCMS. This initiative builds and strengthens positive relationships as it supports the needs of students. As the program has evolved the staff at Scott County Middle has seen the benefit of the common behavior management system and they are committed to the continuous improvement of the CARDS program.
The school has identified one area of emergent need, prizes. With so many students and teachers rewarded for positive behavior, the school welcomes prize donations. They also express thanks for the support of the Pavilion, University of Kentucky Alumni Associations, Cincinnati Reds, Elite Fitness Center, Dominoes, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A who have partnered with SCMS in this valuable initiative.
If you would like to find out more about the CARDS Guidelines for Success or have a perfect prize to reward the positive behavior of students, contact Cristina Green at (502) 863-7202 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.