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When a student is sent to the office at Beddingfield High School, it’s not always a bad thing.
For the last two years, the school has been recognizing students for good behavior by giving out blue rubber bracelets printed with “Be Bruin.”
It is part of the positive behavior intervention support program led by Reuben Ledbetter, the school’s agriculture teacher and chairman of the PBIS committee.
“We recognize so many kids for bad behavior, so we are trying to use a proactive approach,” he said, adding they nominate students each week who are doing better, hoping to encourage them and give them an extra boost.
“Be Bruin” has long been a familiar motto at the school, but the meaning was somewhat vague.
“We had a meeting and all the teachers decided what ‘Be Bruin’ means,” Ledbetter said.
A committee created an acronym out of the letters and assigned seven behaviors that were positive:
Be here and on times for instruction. Every day use language that is encouraging.
Be quiet during instruction. Respond respectfully to your teacher.
Use good judgment and volume throughout the building.
Instantly comply with directions. Never neglect work.
“We posted it, and we are using it in our announcements every morning,” Ledbetter said.
“This is a Beddingfield effort,” said Kelly Carter, assistant principal. “We see that our students need encouragement to do the right things. They need to be taught the right things and then given encouragement to do those right things. We are just trying to work together to see how we can teach positive behaviors by using tools like this so that we can decrease the negative office referrals for the discipline issues by counteracting it with these positive office referrals.”
Cameron Gamwell is one of those students called to the office after being nominated by Lynn Joyner, his English teacher.
“He is just a student of great character. He really cares about what he is doing in class,” Joyner said. “He always puts forth his best effort. He even goes the extra mile and does extra research and thinks deeply, and when we do activities he is the first person to contribute and contribute very effectively.”
Cameron felt good about being a recipient of a bracelet.
“I feel like my work is appreciated, and it’s not all for nothing,” he said. “It’s not going unnoticed. It feels really good to have this.”
Cameron marched immediately down to Joyner’s class to give her a gold bracelet that recognized her as a teacher he appreciated.
“I feel she is a really good teacher, and she deserves it,” Cameron said.
Joyner said handing out the bracelets “is one of the best ideas that any educator could ever have primarily because you want to reinforce all of those great things that you really want to come forth in students.”
Jorden Whitley received a bracelet for never neglecting her work.
“It’s like a community of people getting recognized for the good things that we do, and it encourages the other students to try and do better,” Whitley said.
Tiani Hinnant was recognized also for always completing her work.
“It’s important that you do your work, and once you do your work you can get recognized for it,” Hinnant said. “It makes more people want to be recognized for doing good stuff.”
Deana Klutey, a special education teacher, said recognizing good behavior with kids that struggle with behavior can give them a sense of pride.
“It instills a pride in them that maybe they wouldn’t have because of always being in trouble,” Klutey said.
“It is an encouragement for students who always do the right thing, but it’s also equally encouraging to students who are frequently suspended or have negative behaviors,” said Sarah Wiggins, a math teacher.
Debra Pegram, a physical education teacher who has been at the school for 28 years, said kids need that encouragement.
“It’s been proven with scientific study. You reward what behavior you want to continue,” Pegram said. “So many times they get locked into technology and just in their own little world.”
The program also builds the relationship between teacher and student.
“It is a plus for teacher and student,” Pegram said.
Ledbetter said there is a positive difference in the school because of the program.
“Those students are getting bracelets, and they get to go back and give another teacher a bracelet,” Ledbetter said. “They are excited about it. They want to show it to their friends and go tell their teacher.
“They are excited to actually go and talk to the teacher about what the teacher said about them. I think we have seen a real positive influence on the students in that regard.”