JA store encourages BESt behavior

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, August 19, 2012

In an effort to encourage good behavior, Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven has partnered with Brookhaven Elementary School to form a good behavior store at the school.

     The BESt Conduct Store opened for the first time Friday afternoon and around third- and fourth-graders who had received good behavior awards, given out in “dollars,” streamed in.

     The dollars are awarded for a variety of positive acts, such as staying quiet or helping a classmate. A similar program exists at Mamie Martin Elementary School for kindergarteners and second-graders there.

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     Prizes at the store ranged in price from one dollar to 50 and included things like pencils, erasers, wristbands. Top prizes were footballs and basketballs.

     JA member Stephany Smith said the store’s purpose is to reward good behavior while at the time teaching skills.

     “We’re promoting good behavior, but also teaching the children about economics,” she said.

     Those economics skills were on display Friday afternoon as many of the children, who only had one behavior dollar to spend on prizes, elected to save it and work toward a more expensive award instead of spending it on a small prize.

     More than 100 students came into the store, but only 16 dollars were collected.

     Among them, Kyle Oswalt and Zory Jones, third-graders at BES, spent their money earned by staying quiet on a wristband and an eraser at the store.

     Lewaire Waycaster, with JA, said the good behavior store is part of JA’s provisional class project, which consists of eight new JA members. They will run the store until December, when either BES or JA will take control.

     “We’ve been planning it since May,’ she said. “Our motto, which also helps with the school is, ‘Care today … Character tomorrow.”

     Smith said they’d like to have the top rewards be something like a bicycle or an iPod for the students at some point. She said anyone who would like to contribute in any way can contact her at 601-833-6305.

     Principal Janee Harrison is in her first year as principal of BES after serving as assistant principal at C.H. Lipsey School last year. She said the store is part of a larger movement to encourage good behavior.

     “It is part of our initiative to change the focus for students to rewards for good behavior instead of punishment for bad behavior,” she said.

     The new year’s initiative includes more than just promoting good behavior, said Harrison.

     “In addition to behavior, students are learning about being responsible and money,” she said.

     Harrison expressed appreciation for the work JA of Brookhaven has done.

     “JA has come in like a thunderstorm,” she said. “They’ve been great support and we’re excited to have them aboard this year as a partner.”

     Harrison said her time as principal so far has been challenging, but rewarding.

     “It’s been wonderful, but hectic at the same time,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, especially getting to know my staff and every one of our amazing students.”