A.A. Gates Principals reinforce PAWSitive behaviorsEach Friday, the principals at A.A. Gates Elementary are taking students aside from their classrooms, but not for any wrongdoing. Really, it’s the opposite.
Elementary Principal Julie Podolak and Assistant Principal Erica Sinicropi briefly take individual students out of their classes in the morning to reinforce positive behaviors by acknowledging their good deeds and presenting them with a “good news” certificate. One student each week also gets picked for a positive call to their home.
Any staff member can submit a student to be acknowledged with a PAWSitive Office Referrals, which focus on students in UPK through sixth grade who have gone above and beyond to practice the school’s building-wide PAWS expectations to Practice respect, Accept responsibility, Work honestly and Safety matters.
The good deeds range from cleaning up a mess to helping siblings off the bus or any another form of positive behavior.
PAWSitive Office Referrals, which has continued for a few years now, is one of several initiatives the A.A. Gates Elementary staff has been doing to foster a positive relationship with students.
“One of the reasons we started this was to eliminate the perception that being called out of the classroom by a principal was a negative thing. We didn’t want that to be the case in our building,” Sinicropi said. “We work hard to come up with ways to create a positive climate and promote good character in our students. This was another way to do that.”
Besides the PAWSitive Office Referrals program, the school also reinforces its matrix of expectations with “Caught-Ya” cards and LiveSchool Points, as well as monthly celebrations and random drawings to keep the positive energy flowing.
The behavioral expectations follow the school’s PAWS Program principles. Each of those categories are broken down into smaller examples in the matrix, such as following teachers’ directions, doing your own work and letting an adult know if someone is being bullied.
All of the components of the PAWS program follow the school’s vision, which is opening minds, nurturing hearts and imagining the PAWSibilities.