After implementing a positive behavior and intervention support system, the Sumter County Alternative School in Bushnell has drawn the attention of educators from all over the country, and a group from the Netherlands recently came to see it in action.
“We received a call from Dr. Anna Winniker, the state director of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), stating that she would be in our district and wanted to come see what our plan was for the school,” Principal James Presley said. “Her team from the University of South Florida came and could not believe the results we’ve had with our program. She told me it was even better than what I had described, and they became a supporter of our plan.”
Presley said he received another phone call from Winniker a few months later about a group of administrators who were touring schools and recommended they stop at the Sumter Alternative School to get ideas and see the plan in action.
“We were honored that of all the places in the states that they could visit, they chose to stop here in Bushnell,” he said. “The group of around 30 individuals spent Valentine’s Day with us and gave a lot of great feedback. One person mentioned he was sad that he couldn’t be with his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, but that being here in our school and feeling the love made up for it.”
The positive behavior plan celebrates good behavior and doesn’t just focus solely on punishing the bad.
Each week, teachers, bus drivers and other faculty members receive three green cards that they can fill out highlighting good behavior shown by a student. On Fridays, the school of about 80 students comes together to recognize the individuals who received green cards that week.
“I don’t care who you are, what your background is or what you’ve done, everyone likes to hear ‘attaboy’ or ‘attagirl,’” Presley said. “We also call the parents and let them know…