I wrote Shift Happens just a bit too soon. I was celebrating the fact that we started our year without achievement awards or student of the month awards. Then I noticed that PBIS was on the agenda of our upcoming faculty meeting. When the topic came up it was mentioned that nearly half the year was over and we still hadn’t decided how we were going to acknowledge students at our “awards” assemblies. Really? I thought we had that all worked out! And frankly, we had been doing just fine without monthly awards and students of the month. Kids were in charge of the assemblies and they were doing and showcasing things they found important based on the monthly themes (which are based on Rachel’s Challenge). Yet here we were again discussing awards. Not to replace them with things that won’t single out students or take the focus away from their good choices to the prize(s), but how we were going to bring them back.
Student of the month was back on the table. We were asked about the idea of inviting students of the month for a special breakfast. That way they won’t be singled out on stage in front of their peers who weren’t chosen. We worked on defining those things we want to reward kids for doing. The reward being that special breakfast. Things like behaving appropriately, getting good grades, showing improvement were discussed. The main idea was wanting to reward those kids who typically do the right things to show our appreciation. Even if it’s 10, 20 or 50 kids, the breakfast can happen but it won’t be every kid. Why can’t we find other ways to show our appreciation? Why can’t we appreciate every kid? What if those “good” kids start to focus again on the breakfast, on the recognition, instead of doing the right things because they know it’s right?