Kathleen, Florida -- It's no surprise that rewards got a lot further than punishments when it comes to children's behavior. With a few rewards, problem behavior can be stopped before it even starts.
Kathleen Elementary was recently named a Gold Level Positive Behavior Support model school for the 2011-2012 school year. Kathleen is the only Gold Level school in Polk County.
The state's Positive Behavior Support Project (PBS) is a multi-tiered system to encourage children to solve their problems peacefully by rewarding them -- rather than using traditional discipline.
At Kathleen, teachers give children red tickets when they see good behavior and choices. Those tickets can be redeemed for special rewards like a beach bash, a game day or an ice cream party.
And every day, special kids earn a "blue drop" for the chance at a prize. The thought behind PBS is that rewarding good behavior instills those lessons for years.
"If you practice and learn these skills at this point," said guidance counselor Tommy Pollack, "then when you're an adult it will become natural to you and you'll be an effective employee, effective mother, effective father, effective in your community because you've learned how to communicate and be able to solve problems in that peaceful way."
"We teach the students that life is all about choices," said Kathleen principal Lana Tatom. "You get more of what you focus on. So if you focus on positive things that students are doing, you get more positive results."
In February, Kathleen Elementary hosted a delegation from South Korea that wanted to learn more about its Positive Behavior Support Program.