By Amanda Manning
Brooks County Middle School staff and students are embarking on a new project that will highlight and recognize acts of kindness. “Kindness Matters” will involve teaching and modeling kindness with words and actions. “We started a similar project last spring at Quitman Elementary and North Brooks Elementary with the fourth and fifth graders,” said Janie Jones, District PBIS Coordinator. “We have seen positive results as we recognize the ‘Cool to be Kind Kids’ regularly at QES and NBES, and hope to see this at BCMS as well,” Jones added. Practicing kindness goes hand in hand with the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) initiative. Four Brooks County schools have been implementing PBIS since 2016-QES, NBES, BCMS and BCHS. Delta Innovative School and the Early Learning Center are beginning full installation this year. PBIS is a framework that utilizes positive approaches and acknowledgment to students who show good behavior.
“We could all use more reminders of how to be kind to others,” according to Maura Lewis, BCMS Assistant Principal and PBIS Coach. “The first of our BCMS PBIS expectations is ‘Respect’ and that ties in closely with kindness and compassion toward others.” The hope is that the program will help the community, teachers, students and staff to all come together with more kindness from everyone and to encourage good behavior with students to all.
When a school commits to PBIS the teachers, staff, coaches and teams are all then trained by the Georgia Department of Education and attend workshops, meetings and classes that help them implement PBIS with fidelity. This past year, the four participating schools all increased their state levels of recognition, with QES at the Emerging level and NBES, BCMS and BCHS at Operational level.
Students will be rewarded with various prizes, including prizes from sponsors around the community like business owners, parents, stake holder, etc. The students are chosen for these rewards by their teachers, staff, coaches and parents who notice students partaking in random acts of kindness toward others.