The Life of a PRIDE Buck

Two years ago, Dunbar’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) committee created an acronym that represents all of Dunbar’s school-wide expectations. PRIDE stands for Positive, Respectful, Involved, Dependable and Excellent.

To reward students who exhibit one or more of these traits, faculty and staff can give out PRIDE bucks. The behaviors earning “bucks” can be as simple as students cleaning up after themselves in the cafeteria (dependable), walking on the correct side of the hallway (respectful), or having all of their materials ready for class each day (prepared).

Dunbar PRIDE is simply a way to remind students that following expected behavior guidelines are acknowledged and rewarded.

“[PRIDE bucks] incentivize class participation,” junior Graeme Marshall said. 

Teachers use PRIDE bucks in their classrooms as a way to focus students’ attention.

“There are so many external factors that pull students in so many different directions such as their cell phones, social media or their friends that they are often distracted. It is a challenge to keep them focused on their classwork on a daily basis,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Linda Gayheart said.

Teachers who see that a student has exhibited Dunbar PRIDE can also note how the student showed exemplified PRIDE by writing a description on the buck.

English teacher Mrs. Tara Wilkinson said that “it makes me happy to give out PRIDE bucks because it makes my day better and it makes the student’s day better. I like to focus on the positives in my class.”

Dunbar’s PRIDE paw is on every buck.

Once a student receives a PRIDE buck from faculty or staff, they can turn them into a ballot box in the library. Mrs. Summer Perry and Mrs. Hazel Compton give students another round of praise and a piece of candy for turning them in.

“Not only do the students get direct praise from their teacher in a tangible way, but they also get another positive acknowledgment for turning the buck in,” said English teacher Mrs. Wendy Turner who serves as Dunbar’s PBIS coach.

“It’s a way to positively reinforce how much everyone appreciates students who meet our expectations.”

But there’s also another incentive to receiving and turning in PRIDE bucks when they are awarded. Every week on PLD Lamplighter’s broadcast, WPLD, 10 students are randomly drawn from that week’s ballot box entries.

As an executive producer, I am in charge of anchor scripts, filming announcements, and making sure that everything is ready every week. Media intern Isabelle Blackman and I empty the box and enter the names of every single student who turned in a buck that week.

“We have a spreadsheet that shows every single student who has earned a buck this year,” Blackman said. “We enter every name and every teacher each week. It’s a tedious job because so many students are awarded bucks, but that is a good thing.”

From the week’s entrants, 10 bucks are chosen at random, and they are aired on WPLD every Monday during third block. If students see their name on the screen, they can claim a special prize from the library including water bottles, nylon backpacks, mugs and more.

On May 31, students with 10 or more PRIDE bucks attended a celebration.

Over the course of the year, there are two big celebrations for students who have earned multiple bucks. In the fall, students who earned five or more bucks by December were treated to a viewing of Home Alone in the auditorium with free chocolate and popcorn.

On May 31, students turned in 1o or more PRIDE bucks for the year participated in a Kona Ice Sno Cone party.

We keep a record of the names of students who have reached each level, so the PBIS committee is able to keep track of how many bucks students have earned all year.

It’s definitely a lot of work, but it shows students that getting PRIDE bucks by meeting schoolwide expectations is important and good behavior will be rewarded at Dunbar.

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