What’s Working: PBIS at Clinton Junior High

CLINTON, Miss. (WJTV) — Clinton Junior High is trying something new this year. They’re one of a growing number of schools that have turned to Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports.

The idea is simple, small, inexpensive rewards for students who do the right thing. Supporters of PBIS say it changes schools, for the better, at every level.

Starting the school day off on the right foot is a priority at Clinton Junior High School.

“I just set my classroom rules up based on being ready, respectful, responsible and ready to learn,” 7th grade Art Teacher Jaime Coon said.

The obvious benefit is a more productive learning environment, but to sweeten the pot, the faculty has a series of rewards at its discretion, things like the highly coveted Arrow Fast Pass.

Principal John Wallace explains,”At their choosing, at their lunchtime, they don’t have to wait in line, but they can go right to the front of the line.”

Gentle reminders are posted throughout the school. It’s helped with simple things like walking on the correct side of the hall, but the benefits go deeper.

Tamika Billings is the 7th-grade Assistant Principal.

“PBIS is a system that has rewards set in place, but the ultimate goal is to have that intrinsic motivation to where they do it because it is right,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Education supports PBIS on the National Level, and workshops are becoming more common in Mississippi. Proponents believe that aligning academics and behavior builds a stronger support system for students.

Misty Duke teachers Honors English to 7th graders.

“It’s just so much easier to focus on positive behavior than negative behavior, and students really rally around that, and they want to be in a safe, positive environment with positive adults and students,” she said.

PBIS is also good for morale. Each semester will feature a big event, like a student versus faculty basketball game.

The Clinton Junior High Parent Teacher Organization also plays a vital role in PBIS. They provided the concessions at the student-faculty basketball game.