Student Store Motivates Students at Columbia Middle School

Students at Columbia Middle School (CMS) look forward to redeeming “Bulldog bucks” for prizes and school supplies at their student store on Wednesdays at lunchtime. Students line up, Bulldog bucks in hand, eager to see what is new at the store, and looking forward to cashing in hard earned bucks for Jamba Juice, Guadalajara Market gift certificates or even AMC movie tickets. Students receive Bulldog bucks for showing exemplary “S R squared” (Safety, Respect and Responsibility) behavior from any staff member inside and outside the classroom. “Bulldog Super- Moms” Diana Brueggemann and Cynthia Lee greet students with a smile and work efficiently to count, check and redeem Bulldog bucks. A clear display box in the school library shows how many bucks have been cashed in at the store. Once the buck level reaches the first blue tape line on the box, the students are rewarded with an extra five minutes of lunch. Students love Bulldog bucks!

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PBIS (Bulldog Pride) is in its fifth year of implementation at Columbia Middle. The team started brainstorming the idea of a student store in the spring of 2012. Some of the team members had visited Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto and observed students using Warrior Points to buy prizes. They were excited about the idea of guaranteeing some kind of tangible to be exchanged for Bulldog bucks. Initially, students were rewarded by using Bulldog bucks as raffle tickets. They put them in the “Doghouse” set up in the food court at lunch and a few bucks would be drawn and names announced during Friday announcements. Prizes included “front of the lunch line” passes, Bulldog Pride wrist bands, and lanyards. The team decided to launch the store in the fall of 2012, using PBIS school funds to buy prizes. Once location (old woodshop room) and time (lunch) were finalized, and super volunteer moms Brueggemann and Lee joined in, the Student Store went into full swing.

With the assistance of Bulldog Pride student reps, who attend site PBIS meetings, inventory is constantly being refined to match student interest. “Hot” sellers are AMC movie tickets (30 bucks each) iPhone cases, flash drives, ear phones, and Jamba Juice coupons (Jamba Juice is sold on campus after school on Wednesdays). Other popular items include Guadalajara Market $4 gift certificates, CMS drawstring backpacks, inflatable soccer balls, notebooks, folders, mechanical pencils and more. There is also a “2 Buck” assorted prize bin.

Behavior expectation daily announcements and Bulldog of the Month student awards act as effective reminders to students to do their part in helping Columbia Middle be a place that inspires students to do their best. In addition, staff prizes for “Bulldog Buck Reason of the Month”, a staff raffle for Bulldog buck “backings” (once a Bulldog buck pad has been used up staff puts his/her name on the cardboard backing and puts it in a box for a raffle drawing) and most recently, awarding staff tickets for prizes when “caught” with Bulldog bucks and pen in hand on yard duty, all work together to promote Bulldog Pride on campus.

Best of all, Columbia Middle School is seeing great results. The average number of office discipline referrals submitted per day per month has been decreasing, along with the total number of days of suspension. Staff members are working together to promote positive behavior by consistently defining, teaching, monitoring and rewarding “S R squared” behavior inside and outside the classroom. This year’s ten person PBIS team includes four new members who are adding energy and creativity to Bulldog Pride as we to seek to fulfill our mission: To establish the social culture and climate needed for all students to achieve social and emotional, as well as academic success.

By Marcy Deptuch, CMS 6th Grade Teacher and PBIS Lead

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