PBS Cards at LMS Can Improve Student Behavior.

Calum Dwyer and Harjun Singh

Lots of schools in America use a PBS behavior system to try increasing positive behavior in the school. What is being found in Landrum Middle School is that PBS cards are actually not working effectively to increase positive behavior. Many students at Landrum Middle School agree and a majority of them don’t even use their PBS cards.

One major problem is that students don’t have enough opportunities to spend them. ‘There is nothing good to spend them on,” explains Canon Hauseman. The schools offer cookies and ice cream in small portions at the lunch line in exchange for a PBS card. Also the school holds drawing where students can put their PBS card in the jar and have a chance to win prizes, including Jags tickets and Ice Men tickets. “I would do the drawings if we got more gift cards and less sports related things” complains Mary Kate Reynolds. Not everyone is a fan of sports; as a result kids that are not a fan of sports don’t participate in the drawings.

While most students don’t use PBS cards, a few use them and enjoy them. Isabella Mudrick is one example of a positive student that earns PBS cards and said “I love the idea of PBS cards because you can buy ice cream. I get treats I usually don’t get at home, I can buy Rita’s ice with PBS cards I get. Many of the students that get PBS cards feel that it is a good incentive to do the right thing.

As a person that enforces good behavior, Dean Grall believes PBS cards are an efficient way to make sure student adhere to the rules. “The mindset is for the students to think twice before they make a negative decision.” After seeing the statistic about how many students use PBS cards, he has now started to place them around the school and spread the word about the positive benefits of PBS cards. Dean Grall hopes that in the future, they will not be needed and students will show positive behavior without a reward. He also plans to make the rewards for the drawings more diverse so everyone will hopefully participate.

Although the school hopes this will work, the data collected contradicts this claim.

“I think it works better for younger kids” is how Mrs Pagliughi explains PBS cards. While PBS systems are used in Middle Schools, they are also widely used in elementary schools. With younger kids, introducing prizes for good behavior is almost guaranteed to work. This cannot be said to work for older kids. Older kids desire different things and do not care so much about prizes. As supported by the data, when students get older, they may feel like they are too mature for prizes.

While Teachers like Mrs. Pagliughi say the school should find new ways to encourage positive behavior, some teachers think that the PBS card system is working. In particular, Ms. Gaverette believes PBS cards are working better as the years go by. She says the drawings are a major part of this.

One problem for the PBS card system is teachers only get ten a month. Teachers like Ms. Gaverette wish they had, “fifteen times the amount.” The teachers at Landrum give them out for behavior that is above and beyond. Whenever they see a student doing an action that stands out positively, the distribute one of their PBS cards.

PBS is a system of rewarding positive behavior through the use of cards with which students can buy things. While lots of students say PBS cards don’t work, a handful try to collect them. PBS cards have some ups and downs but nevertheless are a great idea for creating a positive school environment.