Washington Staff Looks To ‘Empower Students’ Through PBIS Program

Washington Middle School administrations and staff members are putting that “fun” into Fridays.

Washington students have been taking part in a monthly “Fun Friday Activity Hour” as part of the schools’ PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) Tier 1 rewards system.

“Our focus with this was to provide all students and staff to build relationships with all students within the building in a fun, positive, and creative environment,” said Ericka Alm, Washington Principal. “Teachers select topics they would like to offer students such as: making a craft, playing mat ball, board games, minutes to win in, and many additional topics.”

The hour also helps students get caught up in homework help and work with a counselor on social and emotional learning lessons.

“Our goal is to really celebrate the over 90% of students who are doing the right thing day in and day out,” said Alm. “Students get to select their top three choices from a Google Form and we’ve also been asking them what they would like to see offered at future ‘Fun Friday’ activities.”

Students at Washington Middle School have had the chance to make unique crafts during each season as a PBIS reward with teachers Andrew Pihlblad and Kevin Kyser.

The activity hours have also given teachers the opportunity to collaborate on ways to engage students. Technology teacher Andrew Pihlblad and art teacher Kevin Kyser are among those who have collaborated to lead students in different activities.

“Andrew and I have had several projects,” said Kyser. “We worked with the students to make pumpkins that were cut from logs that were painted around Halloween. We added stems to finish the pumpkin look. Then during the holidays, we made paper Christmas Trees made of cut paper and decorated with different items.”

The most recent activity they led students in was a Pasta Tower made from marshmallows and spaghetti.

“The tower had to support a large marshmallow on top and had to be the tallest to win a prize,” said Kyser. “We had one student, Victoria Colon Lopez, who got hers to be over 14″ tall.”

The activity hours have been a hit, Alm said.

Victoria Colon Lopez poses with her award-winning pasta tower made during a Fun Friday activity at Washington Middle School.

“We have heard many positive comments from students,” she said. “They enjoy having the time. Many students will make comments to teachers that they want to make sure they get all caught up with their work so they can participate.”

The goal, in the end, Alm said is to ultimately “empower students.”

“We really just want to continue to reinforce with students that school can be fun,” she said. “It does not always need to be instructional when it involves learning. I am hopeful they recognize that when they do the right thing, good things come back around.”


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