Technology has begun to transform how K-12 leaders track and manage student behavior, giving administrators real-time access to discipline information in the palm of their hand. But too often, the emphasis is on the negative behaviors students exhibit, such as being rude or late to class.
Cedar Creek Middle School in Texas is flipping that idea on its head, using a student behavior management platform called Hero to track positive as well as negative behaviors in real time—and school leaders are noticing a significant change in student conduct, and overall school culture, as a result.
Cedar Creek Middle School serves about 850 seventh and eighth grade students southeast of Austin. About two-thirds of its students are economically disadvantaged, 22 percent are English language learners, and 65 percent are academically at risk. Principal Edgar Rincon and his staff are working hard to bring that latter figure down, and they have started to see a shift in the school’s culture since they began to recognize and reward positive student behaviors earlier this year.
Recognizing Excellent Students
The school recently created a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, and adopting the Hero platform from Hero K12 was its first step in trying to encourage better behavior among students.
“We were spending 80 percent of our time focusing on just 20 percent of our students, who were the ones with behavior issues. But that means 80 percent of our students were excellent and weren’t getting the recognition they deserve,” said the school’s PBIS director, Karessa Parish.
“We wanted to flip the culture at our school,” she continued. “We had two objectives when we started using Hero: The first was to motivate the students who weren’t following expectations, and the second was to celebrate the kids who were doing what they were supposed to be doing.”
(Next page: How it works; measurable results in positive school culture)