Chumuckla Elementary School's support of positive behavior among its nearly 275 students will become a model for schools across the country.
The University of South Florida had a film crew at the school recently to highlight its use of Florida's Positive Behavior Support project, which is used as an alternative to traditional discipline methods, to increase academic performance and safety, and establish positive school cultures.
Of the more than 300 Florida schools using the program, Chumuckla Elementary is the only one chosen for the instructional video, which should be completed by fall.
"Chumuckla Elementary has one of the most comprehensive support systems in place for students we have seen," said Therese Sandomierski, technical assistance provider for the project.
The school uses activities like the Movin' On Up Club and Great Gains to help its kindergarten through sixth-grade students who may be struggling academically. Disciplinary referrals have dropped nearly 50 percent at the school, which consistently has earned an A based on scores from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
"It is an example of what other schools can do, and that will be shared with the rest of the state and the country through the video," Sandomierski said.
The school's TRIBE expectations — Trustworthy, Respectful, Responsible Indians Believe in Excellence — fully support positive behavior, said Karen Barber, principal.
"We know student achievement goes up with increased appropriate behavior," she said. "The program helps with the TRIBE expectations for ourselves and the students, and recognize when students are making positive choices for behavior or academics."
Fourth-grader Erica Waters has noticed a difference in classmates' behavior.
"It's very good we have such a good opportunity to get people to have good conduct," she said. "People really try to earn the respect of their teachers."
Last year, Chumuckla Elementary and Woodlawn Beach Middle School were among the 25 percent of Positive Behavior Support schools to achieve Model School status for demonstrating innovative, creative and functional ways of supporting the program.
Pensacola News Journal , April 28, 2008