Ridgeview Elementary school Principal Julie Baker speaks to her students during an assembly to kick off the PAWS and Think campaign on Friday afternoon.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Ridgeview Elementary school Principal Julie Baker speaks to her students during an assembly to kick off the PAWS and Think campaign on Friday afternoon.

Ridgeview students PAWS and Think

'Baker's Bunch' kicks off campaign for good behavior

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— Everything was going fine at recess, until 8-year-old Kenna Rowley fell and twisted her ankle.

But she didn't need to worry.

Three of her best friends worked as a team to alert a teacher and act as crutches to get their friend safely inside.

Alyssa Zimmerman, 9, said she would have done the same for anyone else she saw get hurt.

"Of course we would," she said. "Because it's PAWS."

As third-graders, the students had their helpful and respectful behavior reinforced through the PAWS and Think program for three years.

PAWS - which stands for Practice respect, Act with kindness, Work together and Stay safe - promotes good behavior in the classroom, on the playground and at home.

In the first PAWS assembly of the year Friday at Ridgeview Elementary School, principal Julie Baker and her faculty kicked off the official start of the behavioral campaign.

During the assembly, kindergartners through fifth-graders proved they are already using PAWS as an integral part of their educational and social lives.

When members of the faculty held up signs of each letter of the acronym, the students recited with enthusiasm what each one stood for.

Then, they asked for examples of each one.

"If someone spills their tray in the cafeteria, you would help them clean it up," Kenna said, citing an example of acting with kindness.

After a faculty rendition of the "Baker's Bunch" song, which tells a story of a principal and her students and is set to the tune of the "Brady Bunch" theme, Baker addressed the crowd.

"This is the official day of kicking off all the new things we're going to do this year," she said. "We're going to reward you big for always showing PAWS behavior. It's all about making good choices."

Each time a student is caught using good behavior, such as using quiet voices or practicing safety, they are put on the Baker's Bunch Board.

As an addition this year, there will be drawings for prizes and special activities for classes who rack up points by being on time and using quiet voices in the hallways.

Also new this year is a policy that will remove a student's name from the board if they are caught doing something disruptive.

"We are really upping the expectations this year for the older kids," Baker said. "They can so do it."

Last week, after Kenna's ankle had fully healed, she was sitting in class next to her friend, Cody, who needed help with some of his work. Kenna didn't need to pause and think; she knew to share her notes with Cody because it was what was expected of her.

And she might get to go on a sledding trip if she collects enough PAWS tickets.

"They love it," Baker said. "They definitely get really into it."

However, she said the program has waned slightly in its effectiveness throughout the past few years because many of the students got tired of the same thing over and over.

Baker hopes to use monthly assemblies and positive reinforcement to renew enthusiasm for the program.

She said it was important for them to get the message into their minds at a young age so they can take the ideas with them to middle school and beyond.

"Whenever we have any discipline issues or anything, we try to make it a teachable moment for the students," she said. "It works so much better. It's just a simple profound example of how they should act in life."

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