Summit Middle School students get back on track
Ryan Summerlin February 23, 2013
At Summit Middle School, students are getting rewards not only for good grades, but good behavior as well. For more than 20 years, the On the Right Track program has offered incentives to students recognized for excellent behavior during school hours.
Now, principal Joel Rivera hopes to increase the efficacy of the program by combining it with a national program called PBIS – Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The goal of the program is to improve student academic and behavior outcomes by conveying behavioral expectations. It’s already in place at the high school and several of the elementary schools, where the positive effects have been noted.
“We’re looking at how we can take this program, On the Right Track, and connect it to PBIS,” Rivera said. The middle school is slated to integrate PBIS in the upcoming school year.
In the meantime, middle school students are benefiting from On the Right Track, which has expanded since its inception nearly two decades ago.
When a teacher sees a student exhibiting exemplary behavior, that student receives an On the Right Track ticket, which can be redeemed for various prizes, such as a discount at the student store, or lunch with the principal. The secondary aspect of the program includes a field trip for students.
In the past, the field trips stretched statewide with camping and hiking trips. Recent budgetary concerns have kept the outings within Summit County, but that hasn’t stopped the students, or their supervisors, from having a good time. Most recently, a group of On the Right Track students spent the day with the Breckenridge Ski Patrol, learning first aid, drilling with avalanche rescue dogs, skiing a rescue toboggan with a patroller and more.
“I thought it was really fun,” said seventh-grader Lilli Tobias, who played the victim with fake blood and rubber bone injuries, which her classmates dressed. She said she now has a better appreciation of what ski patrollers do.
When asked if the trips and On the Right Track rewards motivated them to adjust their behavior, Lilli and her classmates responded with a resounding “yes.”
Rivera said the numbers also back this up.
Rivera worked with the PBIS program before coming to Summit Middle School and was eager to apply some of the principles of the program. By the end of his first year, the number of office referrals had gone from 1,001 to 557. Last year they decreased even further, to less than 300. Rivera says that programs like On the Right Track definitely have a hand in the decrease.
“It all connects together,” he said. “If we have a consistent way of delivering a program like this and a system like this, like the kids said, it’s totally worth it.”