By Associated Press - Saturday, September 13, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A Rapid City elementary is trying to create a school culture where students are rewarded for their good behavior, rather than getting attention when they act up.

Officials at the Horace Mann Elementary School say the discipline issues that inundated the school and hindered the learning environment have receded under a new program that focuses on positive reinforcement, the Rapid City Journal ( ) reported Saturday.

“We like to see that behavior modeled on its own,” said Principal Scott Phares. “It’s like, do you drive the speed limit when there’s not an officer around?”

The program is meant to teach students from the beginning of the year that they shouldn’t run in the hallways, yell in the lunchroom or antagonize other students in the bathroom. School officials say the goal is to create an environment where most children would feel left out if they misbehave or go against rules.

Officials began implementing the program about two years ago and it’s now being expanded to 20 more buildings in the Rapid City Area Schools.

Phares said the system has helped decrease the number of students sent to his office from 494 two years ago to 189 last year.

“It’s made my job a lot less overwhelming,” he said.

Pupils who behave well can be rewarded with school tokens they can save up for incentives such as sidewalk chalk or water bottles that are on display in glass cases in the hallway.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,

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