Color Run toward success

Published 11:50 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cumberland students were given a colorful reward for their good behavior in class.

Students who had shown positive behavior during the first nine weeks were invited to participate in a Color Run.

The event, which took place Oct. 14, was the first “Big Event” hosted at Cumberland County Elementary School’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program. The school grounds were transformed into a track, complete with volunteers throwing colored powder as the students ran by.

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The goal of PBIS is to encourage students to work hard and stay on the path to success, said Chiara Hoy, PBIS chairperson.

EMILY OVERSTREET Ava Overstreet poses during the Color Run.

Ava Overstreet poses during the Color Run.

She said, at the end of each nine weeks, all students who had not been given an office or bus referral during the marking period have the opportunity to celebrate their positive behavior and good choices with a Big Event.

Between 450-500 students from grades K-4th participated in the run, Hoyt said.

“The children had a blast, loved the extended course and addition of a sprinkler to run through in the middle of the course, and the teachers said that everything went smoothly and that the afternoon was enjoyable and fun for everyone,” Hoyt said. “This event serves as an incentive for students to work toward, as they focus on following the school-wide expectations, staying in class and out of the office.”

She said the school’s goal is to reduce the overall number of suspensions, including both in-school and out-of-school suspensions. The school also wants to increase student engagement and achievement.

EMILY OVERSTREET A group of Cumberland County Elementary School students throw colored powder into the air during the Fun Run.

A group of Cumberland County Elementary School students throw colored powder into the air during the Fun Run.

The events also promote positive behavior by offering celebrations for positive actions, instead of solely focusing on negative consequences for negative actions. At the beginning of the year, students were aware that the Color Run was scheduled as the first Big Event, and teachers and administrators often reminded the students of what they had to look forward to as the nine weeks progressed. This encouraged many students to rethink their behaviors and choose more positive actions during times when they otherwise may have chosen to disengage or behave inappropriately. 

Along with the Big Events each nine weeks, PBIS uses a tangible token system, referred to as “Duke Dollars.” Teachers can use Duke Dollars to reinforce positive behavior throughout the day. Students use the duke dollars for prizes such as reading the morning announcements or sitting at the teacher’s desk.

“Students who do break the school-wide expectations are consistently re-taught appropriate behaviors in an effort to keep every child on the right track,” said Hoyt.

She said the Color Run was a huge success for both the students and PBIS committee.

Jennifer Turner, the committee’s parent liaison, said “as a parent and committee member, I have seen see a huge upswing in the students’ ability to be accountable for their own behavior and to serve as a positive peer role model to others who may need it.” 

More than 50 parents volunteered with the run and many teachers participated with their classes.

Hoyt said this was “definitely a sign of success, since it was almost certain that the runners were going to get soaked in both water and colored powder. Every child I spoke with said it was really fun, and I saw tons of smiles and heard lots of laughter throughout the entire afternoon.”

Turner agreed.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these students and their hard work to make PBIS their own and to make it a huge success,” she said.

PBIS plans to hold another Color Run next year at the end of the first nine weeks.

The committee has planned a winter-themed carnival for the Big Event during the second nine weeks this year.