Rewarding positive behavior working for Waterloo Schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rewarding positive behavior working for Waterloo Schools

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Rewarding positive behavior is starting to pay dividends in the Waterloo School District.

The 'Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports' or PBIS program is helping the district cut office referrals by a third.

For Levi Pitts, he has really found his groove at EXPO Alternative High School, but the road there hasn't been easy.

"Well I got kicked out of East for they accuse me of stealing a heart monitor watch, that little thing that goes around the chest and stuff. And then they watched the tapes and every thing and see I ain't do it but yet I still got a referral for it," said Pitts.

After getting two office referrals within a couple days, Pitts got expelled, leaving EXPO as his last hope.

"It's just a lot easier to focus," said Pitts.

That's perhaps because the atmosphere at EXPO has turned into a positive one.

"Instead of just pointing out the negative things that kids do and writing referrals for that we pre teach appropriate behaviors," said Henry Shepherd, Assistant Principal.

Nine years ago the district began the PBIS program which strives to teach students, staff, and even parents positive behavior.

"It's not fair for us to reprimand or consequence a student for not demonstrating those behaviors it we haven't first taught them," said Shepherd.

Administrators say the numbers show the program is working, even at the alternative school level.

"This floor we had last year at this same time same first quarter there were 11 major referrals given out. This year we've only given out five," said Shepherd.

EXPO Alternative High School even spoke at the PBIS national conference in Chicago because of their success with the program.

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