COLUMBIA — The gym at Rock Bridge Elementary School last Tuesday was a wriggling sea of bobbing heads and anxious limbs.
“Give me five, please,” said Rock Bridge Elementary Assistant Principal Ryan Link to the hundreds of students before him.
Hands flew into the air, followed by shushes throughout the room.
Link had summoned them to the gym to talk about the school's Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program.
“It’s a system of acknowledging and encouraging appropriate behavior,” Link said. It is a district-wide effort by Columbia Public Schools to be proactive about student success and behavior, according to the program's website.
The program includes weekly social skills lessons, Link said, but also ties in academic achievement.
The program's faculty team at Rock Bridge presented the students at the assembly with a large two-dimensional tree made of traced hand cutouts of all the students, faculty and staff of the school.
This was met with uproarious approval by the students — the gym was filled with “oohs” and “aahs,” and the kindergarteners were so excited that many didn't stay seated. The tree will be hung in the cafeteria, Link said.
In November, March and May, students who have not received referrals for misbehavior will get to participate in “no referral celebrations” as a reward.
“Because at Rock Bridge,” Link said to the restless students, “we are safe, respectful learners.”