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Positive behavior support pays off

Positive behavior and character reinforcing programs are gaining popularity — and apparent results — in Mother Lode schools. 

Most schools in Tuolumne County and some in Calaveras County have adopted some form of positive behavior reinforcement program, in which staff don’t just take disciplinary action, they take reward action for kids who follow the rules and exemplify positive behavior. 

The intended result is to reinforce good behavior and reduce the necessity for punishing bad behavior, which principals say is working so far. 

“At a school, our job is to teach academics, but it’s also to teach behavior,” Columbia Elementary School Principal Ed Pelfrey said.

And the number of kids being disciplined this year has dropped by one-third, he said. 

Every K-8 school in Tuolumne County, except Jamestown and Curtis Creek, which already implemented positive reinforcement programs, sent several employees to a positive behavior training last summer funded by a grant from the California Mental Health Services Authority, according to Deputy Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin. 


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