Tuttle Elementary: Positive Behavior Support Program giving education a boost

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SARASOTA, FL---Positive reinforcement has long been a tactic many parents use to get their children behave, but as you said area school districts are getting in on the action and Tuttle elementary says they have mastered the method.

"The PBS program stands for Positive Behavior Support, basically the frame work of the PBS is setting behavioral expectations for our students all over campus," said Tuttle Elementary Assistant Principal Jennifer Kahler.

Many of the expectations include things you would normally encourage in most school districts but Sarasota schools have taken things one step further. 

"For example our hallway expectations", Kahler began to explain "the acrimony for our hall way expectations is the word hall.  Which stands for hands at sides, all voices off, length of arms apart, and looking forward. As teacher see other classes walking down the hall way we acknowledge them Tuttle turtle dollars," said Kahler.

The name of the reward changes based on the school.  But, at Tuttle Elementary those turtle dollars are the key.  Classes can use that money to buy toys, VIP seating in the cafeteria, or even entrance to a quarterly celebrations which in the previous years have been as extravagant as Bush Garden shows and bunch house parties.

"its pretty awesome," said 5th grader Takeara Bulls.

But not only is the PBS program giving students incentives for behaving, Bulls says since switching to Tuttle Elementary her grades have gotten better.  "Classes are very quite. Peace and quite so you can learn more. I think this school will educate you more than whatever other school your going to," Bulls added.

And that educational side effect is the real reason officials say the PBS program works.

"We saw a lot of negative behaviors, we saw a lot of students being removed from classrooms which resulted in other students being distracted from learning and it equated to a lot of lost learning time.  So in the 5 years that we've had PBS at out school we've been able to maximize our learning," said Kahler. 

Kahler also says PBS has helped her school maintain an "A" grade for the past seven years.  And, since the program began they've seen a 40%  reduction in their referral rate and a decrease for both in and out of school suspensions.

"It makes my job a lot easier. The students love coming to school they love learning, and they love working towards a reward because they have something to look forward to later in the year."

Sarasota school district says they will continue to using the program because it works.