Students and staff at West Bay’s Sir John A. Cumber Primary School last week had a kickoff party to mark the launch of a program aimed at reinforcing good behavior.

The new government-backed Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Framework event was attended by Education Minister Tara Rivers and other ministry representatives.

According to Jayne Edwards of the Department of Education Services’ Behavior Support Service, who, along with an assistant, works with children who have been identified as having significant behavioral needs, the event was a huge success and conveyed the message of “Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe.”

She said those at the event, nicknamed “Westbee-ers,” enjoyed free, donated patties.

Excited students at the launch event

“The bee motto and mascot, which will be a prominent visual reminder throughout the school over the coming months, was highlighted in the sea of yellow and black outfits that welcomed the minister, and through the various skits, jingles and posters the pupils at SJAC demonstrated during the event,” said Ms. Edwards, the new program’s district coach who will implement the framework at the school.

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“It was lovely to see the whole school community, including pupils, staff, parents and officers from the DES and Ministry joining us for the launch of a strategy that will make a significant difference to the culture, behavior and learning that takes place within our school.”

Ms. Edwards said research has proved that a positive school climate is significantly linked to improved behavior and academic achievement in schools.

“In implementing the PBIS framework, we can promote a specific range of strategies that encourage success not only behaviorally, but socially, emotionally and academically,” said Ms. Edwards.

“The School Climate and Achievement Team here at SJAC aims to maximize success through active supervision, positive communication and recognition of good behavior,” said Principal Paul Samuel.

“We believe that explicitly teaching, and reteaching important social skills and modeling and rewarding good behavior is the best way to encourage and promote achievement in all areas.”

The new behavioral program’s mascot

Ms. Edwards noted that while all government schools will be using the new behavior framework, it has been fully embraced by the whole school community at Sir John A. Cumber and all of the 28 classes have started doing their part.

“It is important that we remember to Be Respectful, Be Responsible and to Be Safe,” said Year 6 student Jevoughn Anderson. “It stops us from getting hurt, and you need to learn good manners for when you are a grown-up.”

Year 6 students Daniella Wallis and Marisha Myles said: “Sometimes you can hurt people’s feelings by not thinking and saying mean things. We need to Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe so that we can stop bullying, and stop this from happening.”

Ms. Edwards said the School Climate and Achievement Team are encouraging parents to get involved in recognizing their children’s achievements through positive praise, positive language and continued positive relationships, as they are vital elements when teaching children essential social skills.

She said hot chocolate Fridays, class treats and peer nominations are some of the positive rewards school staff are introducing to the “Westbee-ers Hive” over the next few weeks.

“It is hoped that pupils will continue to respond well to the new system, engaging in working towards and reaching their targets, then enjoying their rewards,” said Ms. Edwards.

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