Who goes to school to have fun? Apparently the students at Jefferson Township Middle School do, because Friday was Falcon Fun Day at the school, in conjunction with the kick-off of Positive Behavior Support in Schools (PBSIS).
The PBSIS program is part of a national program called Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS). The state program is run in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) and the Office of Special Education, part of the New Jersey Department of Education. The middle school applied to be part of the program. The school's application was accepted last year, and the program began with staff training last spring.
During the month leading up to the kick-off, students participated in a variety of lessons geared to demonstrating the expectations of behavior for the school. JTMS’s school theme is, “We are Respectful, Accountable, Positive students.”
Students that demonstrate positive behaviors and follow school expectations are rewarded with “Falcon Rappers” by school faculty and staff. Each week a rapper will be picked in a raffle to receive a special prize, like time in the Wii Lounge, extra locker time or a McDonald's lunch.
"I think this is a great idea," said student ambassador Aakaash Gosain. "It's nice to have a day to learn about character traits like accountability, respect and being positive."
Gosain was chosen as an ambassador after being part of a "lunch bunch" group with school psychologist Dr. Vanessa Petersen. Part of his job was to escort honored guests like Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to the field for the opening ceremonies.
"We love being involved with this program, because it brings the school together in a positive climate," said Blair Rosenthal, UMDNJ's liaison to the school. "The students have clarity of expectations, and are recognized for positive behavior."
Future PBSIS events include school spirit days, booster events, raffles, and fundraisers.