At the Middle School, getting a Dawg Tag has nothing to do with having four legs. Instead, the students who are caught doing something right earn the paper tags which are entered into frequent drawings for incentives.
The Dawg Tags are given by teachers and administrators when students demonstrate safe, respectful and responsible behavior.
"The program's positive effects are supported by early discipline data for this school year," Rusty Creed, ISS instructor and PBiS committee member, said. "We've reduced our discipline referrals to 42 so far, compared to 92 at this point last year. The program has been highly successful, judging by student reaction and feedback."
When students are rewarded, they are told which of the three expectations they have done well, which will hopefully help that student repeat the good behavior.
During their lunch periods, students drop the Dawg Tags they've earned into the drawing bucket. "Two or three times a week we draw names for various rewards," Creed said. "These include getting to line up first for lunch, some small candy items or some MMS swag in the form of shirts, backpacks or water bottles."
A popular reward has been made possible by the donation of two picnic tables outside by the school's Parent-Teacher Organization. For this incentive, the students is allowed to select friends for lunch outside.
The incentive program is part of the Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBiS) program which is in its third year of implementation at MMS. "We introduce different facets of the program slowly," Creed said. "We don't want to overrun our headlights."
Being safe, respectful and responsible are the three expectations of the PBiS program. Mexico High School and the three elementary schools are in varying stages of participating in the PBiS program.
Deb Hill Haag, principal, says the incentives are part of the PBiS program that recommends a 4:1 ratio of positive and specific reinforcement for students. "Recognizing a job well done is not limited to classroom assignments, but should be extended to student behavior," she said. "We have lots of wonderful students being safe, respectful and responsible and it is our pleasure to reinforce those behaviors."
All teachers at the Middle School have a supply of Dawg Tags to distribute. "Dawg Tags are popular among faculty, also, as they are easily and quickly handed out with nothing for the teacher to do," Creed said. "And as an incentive for the handing out of Dawg Tags, Mrs. Haag occasionally rewards the teachers."