Walk through Byrne Elementary School and you’ll see inspirational posters, teachers dressed in “theme colors,” stacks of paper “gold bars,” and hear Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors” on the P.A. system.
It’s all part of the ABA-based Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program. Chicago School alumna Lorena Arevalo recently implemented the program in low-performing Chicago Public Schools.
The objective is to reiterate clear expectations, consequences, and positive reinforcement. Expectations are discussed in daily assemblies. Students receive “gold bars” for positive behavior and trade them for privileges and prizes. Teachers wear theme colors on “true color days.” Halls and classrooms display positive messages: “Be Responsible. Be Respectful. Be Safe. Do Your Best.”
Byrne Elementary is seeing decreases in visits to the principal’s office, increased attendance, and less need for disciplinary measures.
“It’s a tremendously rewarding experience,” Arévalo says. “We’re seeing positive changes take place in a very short period of time.”