Abe’s Way Makes Sense

Students at Lincoln Elementary School have seen a flurry of red, blue, yellow, and the highly coveted Golden Tickets, handed out to encourage safety, respect and responsibility. The Lincoln School motto: “We are Respectful, We are Responsible, We are Safe,” is spoken by the principal, Mrs. Russo every morning along with helpful and useful examples to enable the students to focus and remember their goals every day.

As part of the school’s PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), which is an organized, data-driven system of interventions, strategies and supports that positively impact school-wide and individual behaviors, teachers and staff members are handing out “Abe’s Way Makes $ense” tickets to students who exemplify behaviors such as: listening and walking quietly, following directions, or keeping hands, feet and objects to oneself. Any staff member can give a ticket, at anytime during the day, when they see students exemplifying positive behaviors.

The PBIS team at Lincoln set their expectations of how students should act in school, based on an initial survey of potential behavior challenges. The expectations are very specific and outline what is expected in the classroom, hallway, cafeteria, bathroom, auditorium and playground. Expectation posters hang throughout the school to remind students of what they are working toward. If any staff member recognizes an entire classroom’s behavior for doing the right thing, they receive a special “golden” ticket.

“Having expectations helps students feel empowered and in charge of their own behaviors,” said Lori Cobb and Lauren Walter, Lincoln Elementary School teachers. “Also, sometimes the students who are well-behaved get overlooked and the ticket process rewards them for doing the right thing too. PBIS is a research-based teaching tool for behavior just like we teach math or English Language Arts. A lot of negative behavior is attention-getting and by using PBIS strategies, we change that mindset so that positive behaviors get the most reward and attention.”

Lincoln holds two monthly assemblies as a reward. In an effort to build community, the classes who earn Golden Classroom Tickets, which is the collective efforts of their class as a community, can enter all their tickets into a drawing and one class is recognized to walk on stage to the song, “Celebration,” and is recognized for being a wonderful team. The class will also, during the next assembly, sit in a golden section of the auditorium until the next class gets selected.

The Lincoln Elementary School PTA donated $4 per student so that every child in the school could have an “Abe’s Way Makes $ense” T-shirt in the school colors: blue and gold. Students wear the T-shirts to gatherings, along with a button with names and stars whose colors reflect the level of behavioral achievement. These too provide a positive behavior-building gesture. Families also were asked to contribute $2 to help purchase the T-shirt to help build conversations at home about the new program, its impact on their child, and to actively involve families in the process.

“It teaches everyone in the school to be good to each other and helps stop bullying,” said Anthony Snyder and Sal Colletti, Lincoln Elementary School fourth graders. “It also helps us learn better in class because if one student is bad, it interrupts our learning time for the teacher to talk to him. No one wants to have bad behavior because everyone wants to get a ticket.”

Special thanks to the Lincoln PBIS team: coaches Lori Cobb and Lauren Walter; and members Mary Cook, Laura Burstrom, Sue Christian, Carla Stringer, Katie Russo, Cheryl Twaragowski and Kae Mann.