As educators, we all know the importance of maintaining a positive and productive classroom environment. That's why many schools are turning to PBIS programs like ClassEquity to improve school culture and promote positive behavior. Meet Linda P., Steve B., and Christinn N., three dedicated teachers who have been working in the education field for a combined 53 years. These teachers, along with the other teachers at Gibsonburg Middle, are using ClassEquity to improve behavior, engagement, and culture in their school. Here's what they learned.
“We were at a point in our building where the discipline program we were using was not effective. The administration was focusing on PBIS, personal finance, and career goals this year, and ClassEquity seemed to fit all of those.” Linda P.
Bringing your PBIS program school-wide ensures teachers and students are on the same page, and that high expectations are shared throughout the building. “We try to keep it consistent for the middle school students,” shared Christinn. “I think that it helps that, as a staff, we are all on the same page. If we see problems, we discuss how to change them to make them work better.“ Working together as a staff means that all students are being recognized for their positive behavior no matter where they are in the building. Linda shared that “even the cafeteria monitor uses it for behavior there.”
Teachers at Gibsonburg work to give specific and immediate feedback for positive behaviors by awarding bonuses in the moment. “Since the rewards and consequences are immediate, the students seem more aware of the expectations in the classroom,” shared Linda. Christinn pointed out, “I like being able to reward the students and being able to put in specifically what they are getting rewarded for. I have noticed a positive change in the students. I feel that students have less missing work, and they are doing better at following directions, like all being in the seat when the bell rings to start class.” And this change is noticed by students as well. One student shared, “I like how it helps keep you focused on the right thing to do... It also helps you stay organized because you know what the right thing to do is and what the wrong is.” By tying bonuses to specific behaviors and issuing rewards in the moment, students know what actions to take to contribute to a positive school culture.
Leveraging ClassEquity’s financial literacy components has allowed Gibsonburg teachers to make their PBIS system tangible in a way that is more real-world for students. The experiential financial literacy aspect of ClassEquity allows students to practice spending the money they earn through their hard work. One student shared that “I like that it's like the real world when you have to have a bank account.“ “The students also check their accounts frequently and “budget” ways to spend their money in order to still have money for our big rewards at the end of the quarter,” says Christinn. Steve noticed that “students have really enjoyed ClassEquity so far this year. I see them checking their account often and asking questions about it. They seem motivated to earn the rewards by gaining more money through good behavior and doing what they need to do in the classroom.” Another student pointed out that the financial incentive component has encouraged them to consider their actions first. As they point out, “Your teacher can take away coins when you show inappropriate behavior, so spend and act wisely!"
Implementing a new system may sound daunting, especially if PBIS is new to you. The great thing about ClassEquity is that it empowers students to take ownership over routines so that your classroom runs itself! Gibsonburg teachers leveraged students and student jobs to lighten the load for themselves while teaching students responsibility. Linda shared a classroom competition that she did every day that involved a jeopardy-style reveal on the board. “I was finding it hard to be in two places at once. I created a job, and now a student is in charge of it. They remember to do it much better than I do.” Think of a few things that you hate to do in your classroom. Were any of these on your list? Putting the desks back after a class, picking up pencils/pens on the floor, passing out papers? Christinn told us these are her students’ favorite jobs! If that doesn’t sound like a win-win, I don’t know what is!
Part of being consistent is establishing that all teachers and students are on the same page about certain parts of the system, such as pricing. “One of the things we had to do early on was make sure all staff were paying students the same amounts for jobs, fines, and bonuses,” shared Linda. By norming on a price range, teachers ensured that students were being paid the same amount for the same actions throughout the building. “We have meetings and agree on bonuses and withdrawals. We also keep consistent with rewards at the end and how much things will cost the students” Christinn explained. Another way to norm without requiring any more time in meetings for teachers is to establish a PBIS committee that can put together recommendations and ranges for teachers to implement. This allows your school to norm without putting any extra time or planning requirements on teachers.
Whenever you send a transaction through ClassEquity, students can actually hear themselves gaining money, helping them self-redirect. “I love the sound effects because when I put in a fine or bonus, all the class hears is the noise and they know someone got something,” shared Linda. So turn the sound all the way up and watch the magic happen 🪄
Interested in learning more about how you can use ClassEquity as a school-wide PBIS system? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org