Ticket to goodPublished 9:51pm Monday, September 24, 2012
Students at Sam Adams Elementary School have a whole new reason to look forward to Fridays, thanks to Ranger Pride Celebrations that reward student behavior.
Ranger Pride, a motto and program for the school, stands for positive, respectful, inclusive, dependable and enthusiastic, something teachers and administrators expect of their students. The acronym falls in line with the intention of CHAMPS, a behavioral program instituted in Dowagiac schools to help students display better attitudes in and out of the classroom.
“We’re all speaking the same language,” Cheryl Rogers, Title I teacher and chairman of the MiBLSi (Michigan Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative) Steering Team, said.
Blue tickets, held by staff members, are given to students displaying proper behavior in hallways, classrooms, bathrooms or the lunchroom.
“If you get behaviors in check, there’s more time to teach and more time for kids to learn,” Rogers said. “We assume they know how to act in the bathroom or properly at a table, but some kids don’t.”
The program was once funded through a grant from MiBLSi. When the state grant ended, administrators took it upon themselves to fundraise and keep the program going. Everyone from Principal Dee Melville-Voss to teachers to custodians carry the blue tickets to give to students behaving well. Some have even begun to hand out tickets at sporting events, outside of school hours.
“Even when they leave the building, we want them to know we still have high expectations,” Voss said.
According to Rogers, the process allows many students to get involved.
“Teachers turn in the Ranger Pride tickets and bring them down for the drawing each week,” Rogers said. “We start with kindergarten and work our way through to sixth grade.”
The drawing is random and the student with more tickets in the drawing has a better chance of being chosen for the Friday lunch. Once a student’s name is called, they are given a blue lanyard to wear that states
“Ranger Pride Champion.” They are also allowed to sign the table clothes laid out at specific tables and bring along a guest to eat with them.
“We keep track of who is chosen in the nine-week period so others who haven’t been selected get the chance to go,” Rogers said.
Voss said allowing another guest to go to the special occasion further encourages good behavior.
“The guests get a taste of what it’s like and that motivates them to display better behavior and get those tickets so they can be chosen next time,” Voss said.
Rogers said the payoffs are already evident.
“We try to make a big deal out of it,” Rogers said. “We see the benefits in the kids.”