By: Ashley Winterstein
Students at Centreville Elementary School were given a unique assignment for the month of October. Twenty-five classes were asked to design and decorate their classroom doors to portray a Character Counts! Pillar of Character. Each pillar (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) was represented as a part of a Door Decorating Contest organized by the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team.
The idea for this contest came from a PBIS brainstorming session as a way to encourage classes to work together towards a positive goal while bringing awareness to the Character Counts! program. The PBIS team at Centreville Elementary is always looking for ways to connect PBIS and Character Counts! because of the common goal they share of positively influencing student decisions and behavior.
A rubric was created by the PBIS team to score each decorated door based on qualities such as presentation, information provided, creativity, and neatness. The decorated doors were then judged by Jacki Carter, Character Counts! Coordinator, and Mary Ruth Meredith, Co-Chair of the Character Counts! Advisory Council. The following classes were recognized for their outstanding doors:
Trustworthiness Coppage – 2nd grade
Respect Farmer – Kindergarten
Responsibility Martin – Kindergarten
Fairness Ebersole – Pre-K
Caring Schilling – 2nd grade
Citizenship Quinn – 2nd grade
Jaclyn Twomey, second grade teacher and PBIS facilitator at Centreville Elementary School, commented that “The staff and judges were very pleased with the effort and
creativeness of the students.” The response was so positive, in fact, that the PBIS team is already looking into continuing this contest in the future.
Carter readily agreed that the students did an excellent job illustrating each pillar in very eye-catching ways. She admitted that it was difficult to choose only one winner per character pillar, and remarked, “The decorated doors have a good visual impact on how to build your character and make good choices. I think Cubby would agree!”
Twomey is a huge supporter of incorporating character education into schools because she believes they are life skills. She stated, “In order to be successful in all areas of life, you need to live by the character pillars. In my opinion, incorporating character education is just as important as reading and math. These are life skills that the children can use throughout their lives.” Twomey explained that since the initiation of PBIS at Centreville Elementary School, negative referrals for students have decreased. The students are responding to the positive acknowledgement and strive to receive it.
Carter thought that, “This was a great way to show how the PBIS and Character Counts! programs are buddies. Both focus on positive means of guiding the students’ behavior choices.” With both the PBIS and Character Counts! programs firmly in place at Centreville Elementary School, positive changes are sure to continue.
If you would like more information about the Character Counts! program, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information about PBIS, please contact Jaclyn Twomey at 410-758-1320 or email@example.com.