Girdler Elementary earns opportunity to advance PBIS in their school

Girdler PBIS team display banner outside of school.

While students at Girdler earn tickets and tiger paws for their good behavior, the leadership team has earned an opportunity to attend the national PBIS Leadership Forum.  The forum will give the school’s PBIS team an opportunity to learn more ways of implementing PBIS, yielding even more positive behavior and opportunities for students to earn rewards.

Girdler PBIS team display banner outside of school.

The opportunity to attend the forum is being paid for by Southeast South-Central Educational Cooperative (SESC), which provides local support to schools in the region on their implementation of PBIS.  Girdler Elementary was one of two schools selected by the cooperative to attend the forum.

“This our way of saying thank you for the awesome work you all are doing,” said Dusty Phelps, behavior specialist for the cooperative.

For those who are new to PBIS or have only heard the acronym, it stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.  The purpose is to promote school safety and good behavior.  As Cher Smith, the district’s PBIS coordinator explains, it changes the culture and changes the behavior of students.

“Two primary components of PBIS are to teach students behavioral expectations and acknowledge them when they meet those expectations. Our schools are committed to creating a positive school environment for all students,” said Smith.

At Girdler, students are given a ticket when they display positive behavior which includes being responsible or meeting an expectation.  The tickets are exchanged for a variety of prizes.  There are classroom opportunities to be earned as well.  Classrooms can collect tiger paws and the entire class is rewarded after collecting ten.  Some examples of past paw rewards have been an extended recess, extra time in their specials class, and even a party.  The school is working to establish a Tiger Store this year where students can cash in their tickets for a variety of items.

Student receives a ticket for following PBIS expectations

“PBIS will continue to play a vital role in our future here at Girdler Elementary,” said Clint Mays, new principal at Girdler.

“Our staff is very excited about the effects it will have on our culture and improving student behavior and learning.  PBIS will be just one of the tools we will use to reach our goal of being a top 10% school in the state in three years.”

Participation in the PBIS Forum will introduce staff to topics such as giving students a voice and letting them lead the way with PBIS success, analyzing school climate data, using PBIS in early childhood, and many other sessions over three days.

“We are very thankful for SESC and the support they provide to our district as we continue to move forward with PBIS,” said Smith referring to the cooperative’s support.

“Each school in the Knox County School System has been recognized by SESC for their hard work and dedication to PBIS.  It is great to see one of our schools win this opportunity. Congratulations to Girdler Elementary and thank you to SESC.”

Students shown in hallway with Principal Mays earning a Tiger Paw for their class.