WOODBINE — Kylie Price, 13, efficiently organized her team for the basket relay at the Woodbine Elementary School, helping the younger students put together their baskets and line up for the relay.
“I was waiting all last year to become a team leader,” the eighth-grader said. “This is my year.”
The school held a Positive Behavior “field day” Friday, putting eighth-graders in charge of teams of younger students who worked their way through a series of team-building events designed to be fun but also send a message.
“The goal is for them to help each other,” Vice Principal Anthony DeVico said.
The school participates in the New Jersey Positive Behavior Support in Schools program, a collaboration among the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education and The Boggs Center at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. About 50 schools in the state participate, including schools in Bridgeton, Folsom, Barnegat Township and Wildwood.
The program’s goal is to support the social and behavioral needs of all students through school-wide efforts and targeted interventions with students who show behavioral problems.
Although not specifically an anti-bullying program, DeVico said if they can improve the overall culture of the school, there is less bullying to address.
“Instead of always saying what students shouldn’t do, we focus on how they should behave,” DeVico said. “Rather than say, ‘Don’t run in the hall,’ we’ll say, ‘Please walk quietly.’”
The motto of the program is Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Positive, and students can earn “bee bucks” for demonstrating those traits. There are monthly drawings, and students who earn the bee bucks can win prizes ranging from school supplies to video games. Signs throughout the school remind students of behavioral expectations in class, hallways, the gym and in the cafeteria.
Woodbine began the program in 2009-10, and DeVico said he has seen a difference.
“It’s a new way to perceive the school,” he said.
Students on Friday had fun and worked together well. The positive school climate message extends to all aspects of the school, including healthy eating habits. The school participates in the state fresh fruit and vegetable program, and the snack offered during the break was golden delicious apples, which students happily accepted.
Seventh-grader Taliah Anderson, 12, held her team’s flag, as team leader Chip Bland took inventory of his team. One of his charges was missing, but he quickly caught sight of him.
“I have to make sure everyone stays in line and listens,” he said. “Everybody’s been good.”
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