DAWSON, GA (WALB) - A new school year means new initiatives. In Terrell County, schools are focusing on improving the behavior of all students.
The initiative is something the Dougherty Co. School system started in 2015.
Cooper-Carver Elementary School started the new year last week.
A few new decorations adorned Lakia Spencer's 1st grade classroom on Friday.
Positive behavioral intervention support, or PBIS for many, is associated with behavioral students.
"But PBIS is not for at-risk students it's for all students," said Kareem Sanders, Assistant Principal.
PBIS is an initiative the Dougherty County school system implemented the previous year that focuses on teaching students desired behavior.
"It helped with parents, it helped with students, it helped with faculty and staff morale and it really gave the kids something to look forward to with some of the rewards and recognition that go along with PBIS," said Sanders.
Sanders was the PBIS Coordinator at Radium Springs Middle School.
"It was actually the model school for Dougherty Co. and it made some great gains for behavior and academic achievement," said Sanders.
Radium Springs was able to cut down their office disciplinary referrals by 53 percent and decreased out of school suspension by 38 percent, by teaching respective behaviors and offering rewards.
Spencer says PBIS is something everyone is excited about.
"You can see the excitement in our students as well as our staff. They have been really excited about implementing different rules and expectations," said Spencer.
Sanders is now the assistant principal at the elementary school. He's using his past experience to help Terrell County schools get a jump start.
"We all have the same goals and vision with curtailing some of the discipline issues that all schools see across the country," said Sanders.
During August, the school will focus on teaching students about being responsible, respectful, and safe at all times.