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Positive rewards on the menu at Slingerlands, Eagle

Filed in District, Eagle, Slingerlands by on February 2, 2018

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Lunch and recess are an essential part of a child’s social development and health, providing students with opportunities to practice and use the skills they are learning every day. To ensure students have healthy, positive and safe lunch and recess experiences, two of the district’s elementary schools are piloting a new approach to improving behaviors during the daily midday break.

The lunchtime initiative, currently underway at Eagle Elementary and Slingerlands Elementary School, is part of the district’s new Response to Intervention (RtI) for Behavior program. The two schools are using a weekly positive rewards program to encourage students to meet the expectations of being safe, respectful and responsible in the cafeteria and on the playground.

“Working with the district’s behavior specialist, Sue Yzquierdo, we surveyed students, teachers and noon aides to gather feedback about what could be improved,” said Slingerlands Principal Heidi Bonacquist. “We decided on a positive reward system.”

Now, at both Slingerlands and Eagle, when a student is spotted meeting lunchtime expectations, he or she is rewarded with a ticket that includes specific feedback connecting the behavior to the value: safe, respectful, and/or responsible.

All tickets are then placed in a grade level bucket and once a week, at least four tickets are pulled per grade. If a student’s ticket is pulled, he or she can make a choice from a list of rewards posted in the cafeteria. The list changes based on feedback and ideas from staff and students. Some popular options are having the lunch table decorated, having a table covered in paper to doodle during lunch, having lunch with the principal, or listening to music at recess.

“I told a boy not to walk in front of the swings because he could get hurt,” said Gracelyn, a Slingerlands second grader who chose to have lunch with Principal Bonacquist on Friday, Jan. 26, after her ticket was pulled.

As a bonus, Gracelyn got to bring her friend, Anna, along to the private luncheon.

“Lunch and recess have a vital connection to a student’s education,” said Laurel Jones, who was serving as interim principal at Eagle Elementary School when the program was introduced. “The introduction of tickets has enhanced the relationship between the lunch and recess monitors and students.”

Jones said for students who continue to struggle to meet expectations at lunch and recess, the lunch and recess monitors work through an incident with a student through a “think sheet” which is intended to help students connect feelings, behavior, impact on others, and to find alternative behaviors to try next time.