This article is written by Jared Eliot Middle School student Bill Scully, a 7th grader, as part of an ongoing writing program in which students pick a topic, write the article and have it published on the Clinton Patch.
For most kids, getting a ‘yellow slip’ in school means they did something wrong, but at Jared Eliot Middle School, it means they did something good; in fact they got “Caught Doing Good.”
Last school year, as part of their professional leaning goal, Eliot principal Mrs. Linda Tucker and vice principal Mr. Michael Gourdier were looking for a way to promote positive behavior instead of just disciplining students for negative behavior. They wanted to encourage and reward affirmative behavior because school shouldn’t just be about discipline because every day many more good things happen than bad things.
They investigated a variety of different programs until they created Caught Doing Good. After the program was in place for several weeks, they examined their data and they had a 50% decline in their office referrals. Rather than this being a prepackaged program, Mrs. Tucker and Mr. Gourdier came up with the idea on their own. They worked with their staff to generate ideas about behavioral expectations and student incentives. They both really enjoy the program and are proud of how well it’s working.
Here's how it works: When a student is caught in the act of doing something good, such as helping other students with school work, assisting teachers, or helping to keep a neat classroom, they may receive a yellow pass which includes: a space for the student’s name, the date, their observed behavior, and a staff signature. Then the students deposit these slips into a gold slot located in the cafeteria. If their pass is picked, their name is recognized over the loud speaker during the morning announcements and prizes/rewards are given. It’s exciting for students because they don’t know what they can receive; rewards include: snack passes, dodge ball or social tickets, and occasionally, a movie ticket for Marquee Cinemas.
Overall, students really like the program and feel very optimistic about it; teachers also enjoy rewarding the students instead of disciplining them.
Seventh grader Jackson Resino says of the program, “I was surprised that I got a snack pass after receiving my Caught Doing Good pass from Mrs. Dillon for helping with classroom errands. It made me try to get more passes in the future.”
Seventh grade math teacher Mrs. Jodie Haupt says she supports the program and that it was not in place when she began teaching at JEMS.
This program is a great way for students to be rewarded for their good deeds and behavior and to let students know that their positive contribution to the Eliot community is both acknowledged and appreciated.
Office secretary Sue Dest says, “I think the coupons are great and help reward students when they’ve done something positive for the school.”
So, in conclusion, to the Caught Doing Good program is a great system that helps students improve behavior. This program provides incentives and rewards for students who create a positive environment at Jared Eliot. So now, when a student sees the principal walk in during Enrichment, a guided study period at the end of the day, it may mean they have been “caught” doing something good!