School hallway behavior boosted with novel incentive program

WARRENSBURG - Improvements in attitude are generally made one small step at a time.

Officials and staff at Warrensburg High School, seeking to instill positive behavioral traits in students, have recently launched an initiative to make it happen.

And since May 12, Warrensburg High School teachers have witnessed their high school students take about 5,000 steps toward only one of the program's five goals: improving conditions in the hallways.

Weekly, the teachers are issued a set of tickets they present to students who demonstrate positive behavior patterns, whether it's simply walking in line, or offering a pleasant greeting passing by, or helping another student.

Those tickets are entered into drawings, with nine daily prizes, three weekly prizes - like two iPod Shuffles and a digital camera - and one grand prize per semester.

Friday, eighth grader Reagan Oehler won the top prize, a Wii console and Wii Fit system.

She said she appreciated the prize, especially considering that her two aunts had waited in a parking lot of an electronics store for a day and a half so they could purchase a Wii system last year for a holiday gift.

She said the incentive of such prizes has improved behavior in Warrensburg High School's hallways.

"Kids used to mess around in the hallway and push each other around and stuff, but they don't now, because they think getting the prizes is cool," she said.

She said Friday she couldn't pinpoint exactly what she did to deserve all 30 tickets she garnered, except that she's generally been nice, and once helped another student or two with books they dropped.

School Social Worker John Friauf said this initial phase of this program, "Warrensburg Pride," has proven successful.

The program has gotten the students' attention," he said. "The hallways are a lot cleaner now, and teachers say the program has worked to improve behavior."

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