The Greenfield Way: Transforming our School Culture with Character-Based Discipline

By Claudia St. Amour, counselor

By the fall of 2008, Greenfield Elementary School was well on its way to integrating its core values of respect, responsibility and kindness into our school culture.  This is when we began the serious task of taking a critical look at our school-wide discipline system, through the eyes of the Character Education Partnership’s 11 Principles and our own core values.

What Discipline Looked Like Then
Our school operated with a “ticket” system for severe infractions (from a list of disrespectful and unsafe behaviors) and “card turns” in the classroom (green to yellow to red and beyond).  Students who earned a ticket also earned the consequence of after-school detention.  Students who “got to red” on the color chart missed a recess or lost a similar privilege.  Chronic card turns also resulted, ultimately, in the student receiving a ticket as well.  On the reward side, we offered “Caught Being Good” slips for children who “did the right thing” when they thought no one was looking.  These slips were pulled from a jar in the office once a week for prizes at the school store.

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