Special to The Citizen
Beginning in the Fall of 2018, Smiths Station Freshman Center is taking a new approach to its education process. For the past seven years, under the leadership of Dr. Brad Cook, Smiths Station Freshman Center has stressed the importance of building positive relationships between teachers and students. Studies show that students who feel cared about are more likely to care about their own education.
“Learning begins with relationships. If the teacher cares for the students, then the students will care about learning,” said Dr. Cook.
Those sentiments are echoed by the school’s assistant principal, Michelle Mullinax: “In this fast-paced, digitally-driven world, building positive relationships with our students is so much more important these days. Students know that they can come to any SSFC faculty member for help, advice, and support. These relationships continue as we celebrate successes, mourn losses, and stand at the crossroads with our most valuable resource – our children.”
SSFC is building on its solid foundation of positive relationships to introduce a new program called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS. The program aims to improve school culture by helping each student achieve social, emotional and academic success. Through positive behavior recognition, as well as behavioral supports, SSFC hopes to teach students to be a positive influence both inside and outside the classroom.
The PBIS program at SSFC is anchored by the idea of having #PANTHERPRIDE. Each month faculty nominates students in the following categories: Preparation, Respect, Integrity, Dependability and Excellence. These students become the P.R.I.D.E. team of the month and are invited to a special breakfast in their honor. In addition, each student receives a P.R.I.D.E. team t-shirt as well as a certificate.
But the awards don’t stop with just those elite students. All SSFC students are eligible for an incentive based reward system essential to the success of the to the P.R.I.D.E. theme. Under this reward system students are given a P.R.I.D.E. ticket whenever they are “caught doing something good.” These tickets can be awarded by any member of the SSFC Faculty and can be redeemed in the SSFC library for various incentives. While the program is new, the administration and faculty are excited about bringing this idea to life here at SSFC. In addition, SSFC administration uses the P.R.I.D.E. characteristics to recognize outstanding Support Staff, Transportation Staff, and Faculty member of the month.