Motivational quotes at Hempfield school to spur positive behavior
“Your attitude determines your direction.”
“Be a buddy not a bully.”
These are just a few motivational words West Point Elementary students will see when school starts Thursday.
Stuck to the walls of almost every bathroom stall in the Hempfield school, the quotes are a way to spread positive messages throughout the day, said principal Audrey Dell.
“You can never have enough positive in the world, and I really think mental health is important here, not just for the older kids,” Dell said.
The project started last year in a bathroom for fourth- and fifth-grade girls, who Dell said loved the quotes.
“I just think they felt validated that their bathroom was done first and it was the biggest girl’s bathroom,” she said.
Dell said she came up with the idea after seeing a similar project completed in a different district. Originally, she planned on hand-painting the quotes. Thanks to the help of two teachers with die-cutting machines, she was able to cut the words out in vinyl and stick them to the stalls.
Dell said the project received so much positive feedback they decided to expand it into younger grades as well as into boy’s bathrooms, adding that she’s excited to see how the younger students react.
Parents have commented on a post on the West Point Elementary School Facebook page showing their support and thanking the teachers and Dell for heading the project.
Dell said she hopes the motivational quotes will help kick start Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, a new program at the school.
The program, funded by by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, focuses on improving social, emotional and academic outcomes of students, according to the PBIS website.
The goal of the program is to decrease discipline referrals, increase pro-social behaviors and emotional regulation, increase academic achievement and decrease bullying incidents, the site said.
Now in its first year at the elementary school, the initiative establishes common language that will be used to encourage positive behavior and establish expectations.
The program already was started at Harrold Middle School and, so far, West Point, Maxwell and West Hempfield elementary schools have expressed interest.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .