Fall Issue: 2016
Students make a P.A.C.T.
Students at Kings Junior High School are now part of a program designed to implement rewards for their positive attitudes and good behavior. P.A.C.T. stands for Pride, Attitude, Commitment, and Together, and uses a system based on gaining P.A.C.T Points through the modeling of exceptional character and discipline.
Eighth grade student, Shelby Lantham, describes some of the ways students can earn these P.A.C.T. Points.
“You can get points if a teacher sees you doing something nice for another student, like picking up books they dropped in the hallway and not just trying to take advantage of the points system.”
Lantham also mentioned rubber P.A.C.T. bracelets every student received at the kickoff event during the first week of school. “Also, we have these bracelets we can wear to show pride in our school and for the P.A.C.T program. Teachers select certain days to give you points, and if you wore your bracelet that day, you get them.”
Seventh grade math teacher and the creator of P.A.C.T in the Junior High, John Karabinus, described the reasoning behind the bracelets.
“We tell our students that when they are having a bad attitude kind of day to just switch the rubber bracelet from one wrist to the other as a reminder to stay positive.”
Karabinus had the idea to put P.A.C.T. into action ever since he coached girl’s basketball. Although it never worked out on the court, it certainly has made a lasting impact in the classroom.
Karabinus tried out P.A.C.T. last year with just the seventh grade red team, which has around a hundred students. By the end of last year, so many teachers were asking about it that the red team was asked to present their program to the rest of the junior high staff members.
“This summer, I wanted to do it right.” claimed Karabinus. “So that it could work for the whole school, I decided to create a video where I interviewed all kinds of people out in the community like firefighters, military members, Mr. Spinner, even Officer Downs. I asked them what showing pride in their school was and to them, what P.A.C.T really meant.”
Along with the video presentation, what really kicked off the program for the junior high students was the P.A.C.T party where guest speaker and former Bengals player, Anthony Munoz, hit the four pillars of the program (Pride, Attitude, commitment, Together) spot on.
Karabinus says he has gotten a lot of his P.A.C.T ideas from Nagel Middle School’s similar reward program. He really likes that they try and change it up every year by asking what the students would like.
“The students come up with the best and most surprising reward ideas that they would like to have.” Karabinus shared. “Teachers would have never thought off the top of their heads that kids would want something like sitting in the teacher’s chair for a day.”
Each team of students in the junior high has their very own list of rewards that accumulating enough P.A.C.T. points can result in. There are incentives like a VIP cafeteria seat or a pencil for individual rewards, while team incentives may include drawings for movie tickets or homework passes.
“For us, P.A.C.T was about breaking out of that 10/80/10 scenario. We are hoping that the bottom ten that administrators bring the most attention too will soon be in with the eighty. Maybe some of those students in the eighty will make it up into the top ten based on their behavior.” Karabinus explained.
The junior high has had so much success with the P.A.C.T program that the seventh grade red team teachers will be presenting their ideas and results at the OMLA conference in Downtown Cincinnati later this month. The OMLA conference will be composed of teachers from all over, which is a huge deal for both Karabinus and Kings Junior High.
But P.A.C.T. is part of something much bigger. P.B.I.S stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The goal all schools have that are a part of this up and coming reward based program is to create a framework that highlights the good behavior of students, especially those who may need help with their behavioral progress.
It aims to point out the positive behavior of students, not the negative. It’s also another way, nationally, that schools are trying to acknowledge the daily behavior of their students.
Valerie Eldridge, a Spanish teacher at Kings High School and a member on a board of teachers put together in order to figure out a P.B.I.S. program for high school students in the Kings District says they are currently working on their own form of P.A.C.T.
“When we attend the P.B.I.S. conferences, we mostly see that it’s only middle schools who are representing the program so far.” Said Eldridge. “A program for the High School is still in the early stages since what the junior high has been doing would be immature for high schoolers to participate in.”
Eldridge says she has plans to sit down with high school students sometime in the near future and ask them what they would prefer for rewards to their positive behavior. Movies days, out-to-lunch passes, and extra pep rallies seem likely candidates so far.
Eldridge also mentioned the difficulties of trying to stick with a uniform program for the entire district like P.B.I.S. prefers. “The program likes consistency from building to building, yet the high school is so different, we kind of really want and need our own program to reward positive behavior.”
“Character education isn’t a sometimes thing that you do one day out of the month.” Karabinus summed up. “It’s an all day everyday thing. Are you doing the right thing when nobody’s looking?”
By Madison Lunsford