SAN YSIDRO – Just two months into the school year, San Ysidro School District’s Willow Elementary is already seeing results from a newly launched program designed to reinforce positive conduct, boost academic success and decrease behavioral issues. The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) System emphasizes ways to teach students about behavioral expectations and reinforces lessons with praise and incentives.

“We’ve already seen fewer children being sent to the office for behavior issues – it’s great to see the program is working,” Assistant Principal Consuelo Carranza said. “Our new PBIS program is helping to ensure that our students have an amazing experience at Willow School while also praising them for their positive attitudes.”

Willow School’s PBIS team recently received three-and-a-half days of training to align their leadership skills with the program. The training included learning positive expressions like “you need to walk” in lieu of “don’t run.” The team also came up with a Positive Behavior Expectation Matrix for all the common areas in the school.

“By creating a school culture that values being respectful, responsible and safe, it is our hope we have created a warm and friendly school environment where all of our students have an amazing school experience and an opportunity to succeed,” Principal Manuel Bojorquez said.

Posters hung throughout the school’s campus reinforce the school’s values: Be respectful. Be responsible. Be safe.

Respectful, responsible, safe behavior is rewarded with either “Willow Bucks” or “Terrific Slips.”

Willow Bucks, awarded to students by support staff, including cafeteria workers, custodial staff and campus security, can be redeemed for school materials and other incentives at the school’s new Willow Mart store. Students who receive Terrific Slips from teachers and administrators are entered into weekly prize drawings.

Carranza said the school is looking into offering a variety of prizes and activities to encourage students to maintain their positive behaviors throughout the year.

“Every school in the San Ysidro School District is committed to providing a positive environment that promotes academic success and strength of character,” San Ysidro School District Interim Superintendent Arturo Sanchez-Macias said. “We believe this positive reinforcement program will result in fewer suspensions and increased overall excellence for our students.”