Elementary school program reduces bad behavior

ELDRIDGE, Iowa. (KWQC) - Juvenile crime has been a major issue for the Quad Cities area- after two incidents this week involving juveniles, we wanted to know what steps are being taken in elementary schools to help prevent the crime before it starts. Neil Armstrong Elementary Scool in Park View, Iowa has a program dedicated to help with this issue.

Neil Armstrong Elementary Scool in Eldridge, Iowa has a program dedicated to help with this issue.

The PBIS program which stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support has been implemented at Neil Armstrong Elementary for the past 3 years, where students are recognized and rewarded for the good deeds they do! For every good thing they do, they get an "eagle buck" that they can spend at the end of the month on something like a lunch with a teacher or another student. Principal Tim Green says they've seen a change in their student's attitudes. The school hopes this program goes beyond elementary school and follows them for years to come.

"Let's keep going kindergarten friends, great job!" said Principal Green while kindergarteners walked in line through the hallway. He says positive reinforcement is key for elementary school students to learn what good behavior is.

"We want to identify those positive things that all kids are doing because if we're dwelling on the negative, we're reinforcing the wrong behavior. We want to make sure we're acknowledging the positive thing the kids are doing and setting that as the model, not the negative. Looking for the positive attention," explained Green.

Throughout the school, you can see positive signs lining the hallways, reminding students to think before you act. Green says part of the program helps students manage impulsivity. "How do I navigate this path if I have a disagreement with someone? Because hopefully, this is something that everybody is a lifelong learner. This is one of those lessons we want to carry on with them."

Learning behaviors the school thinks is important in and out of school. "If kids aren't feeling safe in their environment, that's a challenge for us. We want this to be a place of learning and taking risks in the classrooms to challenge their brains. It could be a challenge. Hopefully this is being redirected at home."

Principal Green having conversations with students that act out, so they recognize where they went wrong, "if we do have disagreements with people, how do we go about that in a positive way? If they do get into an altercation, that's something that's not going to lead to a positive result, because nobody likes being in trouble. So we try to replace that negative behavior with more desirable behavior."

This PBIS system is implemented in other Quad Cities schools. The staff hopes this lessens any disagreements students may have and help them recognize how to behave if they do see something they know is wrong. Green said positive reinforcement like the PBIS system is something he believes should start in preschool and continue throughout their schooling. This way, they remember positive behavior is something they should strive for.

The program recommends parents implement a similar system in their home if they can as well. The CDC says the ability to discuss problems with parents, frequent shard activities with parents, and involvement in social activities, among other things, can help reduce youth violence.