Stories From Mary C. Howse
Students Start off the Year on a Positive Note
Students at Mary C. Howse Elementary School kicked off the school year with their School-Wide Positive Behavioral Lesson (SWPBL) and assembly.
At the start of each school year, principal Dr. Steve Catrambone and his school-wide positive behavior team develop a theme for students to follow. This year's theme is One Family, One School, One World.
The assembly and subsequent lesson reinforce the school's core behavioral principals of respect, responsibility, and safety.
During the school-wide lesson, students rotate through classrooms learning about appropriate bathroom, bus, hallway, and playground behavior.
When staff members see students engaging in positive behavior, they are awarded Dragon Dollars (the school's mascot is Fireball the Dragon.) Students write their names on the back of the Dragon Dollars and turn them in. Each month, Dragon Dollars are selected at random, and the students get to choose a reward such as a dance party or lunch with the principal. With almost every reward, the students get to pick a friend to join them.
Mary C. Howse has used SWPHL since 2015.
"It's done nothing but improve over the years, and that's because of all of you," Dr. Catrambone told students during the assembly.
"It's really important to be respectful and responsible. Does that mean you won't mess up? Are you perfect? No! Nobody in here is perfect. Nobody. But if you mess up, tomorrow is a new day, and we learn from mistakes."
During the assembly, students watched a video based on the book "I am Human: A Book of Empathy," by Susan Verde. The book teaches children that it is okay to make mistakes while emphasizing the power of making good choices.
One by one, as students left the assembly, they each left a fingerprint on a map of the world, reminding them that they are a part of one family, one school, and one world.
Mary C Howse Celebrates the Uniqueness of Each Student
Visitors to Mary C. Howse Elementary School will notice a garden of beautifully painted rocks gathered along the building at the front entrance to the school. The Mary C. Howse Rock Project was a school-wide initiative designed to celebrate the uniqueness of each of the school's students and teachers.
The book “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz, was the inspiration for the project. The popular children's book tells the tale of a young fish named Adri that learns of all the unique and different fish there are in the world while on his travels through the ocean. At the end of the story, Adri tells his parents "there are so many of us. We all have something special that only we can share."
Each student in the school drew inspiration from the story and created rocks with characteristics special to them. Students carefully lined the rocks alongside the building for all to enjoy.
MCH Kicks Off the School Year with a School-wide Assembly on Student Expectations
Students at Mary C. Howse kicked off the 2018-19 school year with a school-wide assembly on student expectations. Students learned about proper bus behavior, playground safety, bathroom etiquette and behavior, and how to conduct oneself while walking through the hallways. The expectations are based on three basic principals - safety, respect, and responsibility. When adults witness a student following the school's expectations, they are awarded a "Dragon Dollar," which the student can place in collection jars in the lobby of the school for their chance to win a reward.
During the assembly, students also received a visit from the school's mascot, Fireball the Dragon and were shown a video based on the book "Only One You." This year, students will participate in a school-wide project based on the book and paint rocks that represent themselves. The rocks will be placed in a garden outside the school.
Respect, Responsibility, & Safety at Mary C. Howse
Attentive eyes and ears filled Mary C. Howse Elementary School during the School-Wide Positive Behavioral Lesson (SWPBL) held on January 3.
The mission of the program is to create a safe learning community that promotes student achievement through the proactive and consistent practice of respect, responsibility, and safety.
Students spent the morning rotating between lessons on how to behave on the school bus, in the hallways and bathrooms, and on the playground.
SWPBL was implemented at Mary C. Howse in the fall of 2015 after Tina Lawson, a consultant with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's PaTTAN initiative recommended it to school officials. Lawson's recommendation came on the heels of a study she conducted of the school's flourishing emotional support program.
"Our initial goal with the program was to provide a common language and expectation for behavior across all settings for our students," said Principal Dr. Stephen Catrambone. "We also wanted to bring back some humanity that seemed to be going by the wayside – stopping to say hello, holding the door, saying please/thank you, showing empathy, etc."
Since they began SWPBL, Dr. Catrambone said the response from students has been tremendously positive.
"Students enjoy being acknowledged for doing the 'right thing,'" said Dr. Catrambone.