• Mary Harrison

CHS celebrates Positive Behavior Intervention Support Program, awards student $100

Alicia (above) won a $100 cash prize and the Student of the Week award when her lunch number was pulled by the administration last semester.

On Dec. 20, 2019, the last day of the first semester for Grady County Schools, Cairo High School administrators also celebrated another achievement: no CHS students were involved in fights on school property during the entire month of December.

CHS Principal Chris Lokey and Assistant Principal Chief Andrew Jones praised the student body over the announcements for this accomplishment and, as a reward, randomly selected a student for a $100 cash prize. That student, freshman Alicia Orozco, was also named Cairo High’s final Student of the Week for 2019.

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, Cairo High School’s administration began rewarding its teenagers for maturely handling personal problems with “No-Throwdown Thursdays.” If no fights occurred from the previous week’s Thursday morning until the current week’s Wednesday afternoon, students and teachers receive a Thursday with ten extra minutes tacked onto their normally 30-minute lunchbreaks.

According to CHS Assistant Principal Tammy Donalson, who is also the head of the faculty’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support [P.B.I.S.] Team, the inspiration for a school-wide incentive for students avoiding physical altercations came from another school system.

“We visited another school,” Mrs. Donalson said, “and they had a reward for students if they went so long… without a fight.”

Mrs. Tammy Donalson (above) is the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, and head of the P.B.I.S. Team, at C.H.S.

After much discussion, Mrs. Donalson explained, the high school’s P.B.I.S. Team decided, “time at lunch… was that perfect reward for students, and faculty as well.”

Mr. Lokey and Chief Jones upped the ante with a challenge: if the student body would go four weeks without a physical altercation on Grady County School System property, including buses, then every high-schooler’s lunch number would be entered into a drawing for $100 cash.

According to Mrs. Donalson, one month of No-Throwdown Thursdays was reached right before Fall Break, and $100 was given out, but the fight-free goal was not reached again until the end of 2019.

Mr. Lokey said that he is, “so proud of [the] student body,” for the way they have conducted themselves.

“Our students are handling situations in a positive manner by using peer mediation and talking with adults in the building before taking matters into their own hands,” Mr. Lokey continued. “It is all part of growing up to be young adults and making positive decisions.”

Fourteen-year-old Alicia Orozco, lucky recipient of December’s cash prize, was deserving of the CHS Student of the Week award in her own right.

It turns out that the Cairo resident, daughter of Rebecca and Roberto Mateo Martin, had previously been nominated for Student of the Week by C.H.S. technology teacher Mrs. Amy Starr. During her time in Mrs. Starr’s class, the 9th-grader translated class materials for other Hispanic students and helped them complete assignments.

In addition to the $100, Orozco received a certificate of acknowledgment and gift certificate to Mr. Chick for being chosen as Student of the Week, another initiative implemented by the P.B.I.S. Team to reward students for their good behavior.

“My favorite part that has come from [No-Throwdown Thursday],” Mrs. Donalson shared, “is the fact that both students and faculty are holding each other accountable for [students’] actions, and maybe [students are] thinking twice before they react."

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