We started our positive school wide behavior management program last Monday. It’s called the “Panther Power Program” and it culminates in a huge school assembly on the last day of school before Spring Break, April 5, 2007.
I started this program while working as an assistant principal at Frontier Middle, continued it as the high school principal at Randolph (where it continues for it’s fifth year), and look forward to it here in G-Town. While completing my admin program, Dr. Larry Maheady at SUNY Fredonia introduced me to it and I’ve been pleased with the results every year since.
Every adult who works in our building receives ten “Panther Power” tickets which they can award to students between now and the G-Town Show Down. The tickets are awarded to students for marked improvement in effort or achievement, continued strong effort and achievement, and excellent attendance. Students who receive a ticket bring the ticket stub down to the main office to turn in to me or to our Dean of Students. It gives us the opportunity for positive interactions with students. The ticket stubs all go into a box until the day of the G-Town Show Down. In total, we probably award about 700 tickets during the seven week period. And the ticket that the student can take home (I always say to put it on the fridge to gain some points with mom and dad) is the main reward.
But let’s be really direct, I choose this time of year for a reason. This is the hardest time for everyone to stay positive. The push through the third quarter until Spring Break. And why do I have the assembly the day before vacation? Precisely to keep kids in school and increase my attendance on a day that typically results in a high absentee rate. And I’m telling you after six years of success, it really works.
Many students would tell you that the day of the G-Town Show Down is the single best day of their school careers. I know, because they’ve told me that very thing. And what is the G-Town Show Down? It’s a 90 minute assembly where our students and staff perform on stage. It’s totally student run, with help from our Building Improvement Team. Students run the try-outs, organize the program, run the sound and lights, and emcee the event. We have acts that range dramatically on the talent scale. Our teachers have a band “The Ratler and the Shakers”, at Randolph they were Staff Infection, One Sick Band 🙂 , and the kids love it. Heck, I love it! Some acts are so bad that they’re good. We had a tech teacher, along with six students, dance the YMCA in a way you’ve not imagined. This year they’re up again, along with an awesome Native American duo on authentic drums and song, a kid comedian who completely came alive on stage last year, and some garage bands. This is a way for kids who can’t otherwise show their stuff to say “look at me, this is who I am.” And everyone is respectful and excited and totally jazzed about the event. It’s the best of who we are.
And the Panther Power ticket stubs? I give prizes between the acts to lucky students with tickets drawn–mostly t-shirts that say G-Town Show Down, and some prizes donated by our extracurricular clubs and classes. But the prizes aren’t what it’s all about. Our celebration of each other–that’s what it’s all about.