‘Bear Paw’ encourages good behavior

            MT. PLEASANT—Mt. Pleasant Elementary has a program to encourage positive behavior. 

            Each child has a “respect card” with five paw prints on it. Paw prints were selected because the school mascot is the bears, explained Libby Murphy, the school secretary.

            If a child does something exceptional, a teacher can mark one of the paw prints. After all five paw prints are marked on a child’s card, he or she can come to the office for a treat.

            But that’s just the beginning of the fun. The child gets to draw a number from a bag. The available numbers range from one to 200. The number drawn gets colored in on a grid of numbers hanging on the office door.

            From there, it’s kind of like tic tack toe. If the numbers drawn by exceptional students line up so there are 10 in a row (across, up or down), the children who drew the numbers get a party with the principal.

            “When we get close to 10, they get excited,” Murphy said.

            There’s one more wrinkle. Every Friday, all of the respect cards turned in for a week (that is, cards with five marked paw prints) are entered in a drawing. The winner of the drawing is designated as the “student of the week” and the student’s teacher is named “teacher of the week.” 

            A rotating trophy goes to the student’s and teacher’s classroom and stays there through the next week until the name of the next student winner is drawn.