Spotlight on Family and Community Engagement and Schoolwide Behavior

Garfield STEAM Academy's GOTCHA Room and Community Support

Garfield STEAM Academy in Sand Springs, OK uses a "Gotcha Room" to highlight positive student behavior throughout the school. Students earn Gotcha tickets for following schoolwide expectations, and have the opportunity to cash-in these tickets for small prizes and privileges. Items in the room include books, backpacks, pencils, binders, and other school supplies; most of these items are donated by community and family members.

In addition to tangible items, students can cash-in their tickets for special privileges, such as taking a selfie with their teacher, helping the principal for 20 minutes, and designing and creating a bulletin board for the school. This positive behavior support system not only improves student behavior, but, by offering a menu of activity and relation-based options, provides opportunities for students to explore their interests and creativity and engenders positive relationships throughout the school. Further, through enlisting the help of family and community contacts, Garfield STEAM Academy has also found novel ways to connect the school with the greater community.

Jefferson's Hats off to Cats and Parent Phone Calls

Jefferson Elementary School in Shawnee, OK has implemented a new system to improve schoolwide behavior and engage families in positive school experiences. Throughout the building, students have visual reminders of the schoolwide expectations to "Be safe," "Be responsible," "Be respectful," and "Follow directions." When students are meeting these expectations, teachers in the building give them a "Hats off to Cats" ticket to take up to the administrative team. The school principal, EJ Mynhier, and her administrative intern, Jeniffer Epperley, praise the student and offer high-fives and a special pencil. EJ and Jennifer then follow-up by calling the student's parents to share how well the student is doing. This system not only reinforces desirable student behavior with positive attention, but it also engages parents and families in the school environment and their child's success.

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