Helper’s full houses aid in education

It is the year of competition as “houses” in various schools across Carbon School District as student groups compete for the leadership on their campus’.

Sally Mauro Elementary School in Helper is no exception.

“This year we have started a new piece of our PBIS program (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports),” said Principal Jarad Hardy. “Each year we are expanding different parts of it. This year we are doing what is called the house system. In this system all the students and staff members are separated into houses, similar to what is done in the Harry Potter book series.”

Overall there are six houses in the school with between 45 to 50 students members in each house. There are also six to seven staff members that belong to each house as well.

He said everyone in the building was randomly drawn to be in the various houses. The students win tokens for good behavior throughout the school, whether it be in the classroom, cafeteria, hallways, etc. The six houses are Green (Endurance), Black (Strength), Red (Determination), White Perseverance), Grey (Innovation), and Blue (Confidence). These are all traits of a Bull, the mascot of the school.

There are three colors of tokens. Black tokens are given for everyday types of good behavior and are worth one point. The white tokens are given for a higher level of good behavior, where students help one another. These are part of the Bull Horn program the school uses (with the mascot of the school being the Bulls). Bull Horns are tickets students earn from staff members for different behaviors. It stands for Being Respectful, United, Life Long Learner, Living Responsibly, and Safe. If the students demonstrate one of these behaviors then they receive a bull horn. They turn them in at the end of the day for a prize and a house token. Each of those are worth five points. There are also red tokens, which they get if they bring their reading calendars back to school and they have done 95 percent of the reading they are supposed to do in a month. This is tied in with the leveled reading program the district has going on. These tokens are worth 10 points.

“We ask that they read for 20 minutes an night for five nights of the week,” said Hardy. “We have seen a lot of progress already. I actually have had a couple of teachers come to me in the last week and say this child or that child has jumped up in their reading levels already. It’s a matter of getting a book they like and can read in their hands.”

He said that each day they have 20 minutes set aside for the entire school to do nothing but reading too.

“Everything just stops and we all get out our leveled books and read during that time,” he stated. “We are working toward the 60 (for leveled students) and 90 (for students that are not up to level) minutes goal in the school every day.”

The tokens that are earned are then deposited in a container in their classroom or in the office area and cafeteria. At the end of each month the house that has the most points gets a special activity. Each month the school is going to have some type of reward for the winning house. At the end of the year there will have a house competition on field day.

“This is a completely positive program,” said Hardy. “The research we have seen tells us that if you give something you don’t take it away, so there are no demerits. The idea is to earn more.”

He said the kids are really into it, watching the containers and as the score goes up. While it is not ready yet, there will soon be a score board for the points that have been earned so students can see it grow. House meetings are held each Monday.

“This is a program that is working and has added to the positive atmosphere of our building,” concluded Hardy.