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Memorial Middle School celebrates Panther Pride with halftime refresherPanther Pride logo

The signs are everywhere, Memorial Middle School Roars with Panther Pride. More than just a slogan for the school’s Positive Behavior Supports in Schools, or PBSIS, initiative, MMS Roars with Panther Pride, the phrase, is a call to action and a reminder to demonstrate the PBSIS program’s central tenets of Respect, Responsibility, Kindness and Character.

The PBSIS program kicks off at the beginning of each school year with a high energy rally. It’s a time for the upperclassmen to recommit to the program, and for the incoming students to be introduced to the program that shapes the expectations for their behavior.

Modeled after the state’s PBSIS system, MMS Roars with Panther Pride is an incentive-based program designed to improve the school climate. 

“PBSIS is centered around the belief that by reinforcing positive behaviors and attitudes, schools can minimize negative behaviors,” said Memorial Middle School Principal Gary Floyd. 

 “MMS Roars with Panther Pride aligns with the PBSIS philosophy by helping redefine expectations for student behavior, and then recognizing and acknowledging students for exhibiting those positive behaviors,” he said.  

The program has been in place at the school for six years. For the past three of those six years, MMS has been singled out as a PBSIS Showcase School by the New Jersey State Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and the Pediatrics Department at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School who administer the program.

Like every successful school initiative, however, students often need regular reminders and frequent refreshers about the program to keep it fresh and part of every school day. This is where the PBSIS Coaches, Memorial Middle School Teachers Patty Ryan and Chelsea Campbell, come in. With the support of the school staff and administration and the help of some of the school’s Student Ambassadors, the PBSIS Coaches design monthly themed promotions and events to spread the PBSIS message throughout the school.

Super-Paw PBSIS eventThese special themed initiatives typically involve greater Panther Paw earning opportunities and the chance to win spectacular prizes.

For the month of February, however, the committee decided to link the theme to the biggest winter sports phenomenon – the Super Bowl - creating the MMS Roars With Panther Pride Halftime Show.

“The Panther Paw ticket is central to the MMS PBSIS initiative,” said PBSIS Coach Mrs. Chelsea Campbell. “Recognition is a critical aspect of MMS Roars with Panther Pride. When students are observed demonstrating the PBSIS pillars of Respect, Responsibility, Kindness and Character, they earn a Panther Paw, which is placed in a bin located near the main office. Regular drawings are held and the students have the opportunity to win prizes throughout the year.”

Co-Coach Patty Ryan added, “each month has a special Pride initiative during which, students have the opportunity to win a special paw, that can earn them bigger prizes,” she said. “For this month, students were able to earn Super Paws, which tied into the Super Bowl.”

Mrs.  Ryan explained that the students that earned Super Paws had their Paws entered into grade-level bins, which were then pulled via random drawing to be added to one of three poster board Super Bowl Squares (a Super Bowl Pool) – one for each grade.

Eighth graders James Cook and Bridget Cleveland, who helped with the preparations, were responsible for randomly selecting the Super Paws and placing them in each of the 100 boxes for a chance to win great prizes like t-shirts, hoodies and gift cards for local establishments. Prizes were awarded depending on the score at the end of each quarter.

The Super Bowl pool was the culmination of the mid-year PBSIS Spirit Week, which included Superhero Day, Black & Gold Panther Pride Day, Show Off Your Socks Day, Crazy Hat Day and finally, Football Jersey Day.

Throughout the school, signage proclaimed MMS Roars not only with Panther Pride but also with News, with Spirit, with Character, with Kindness, with Responsibility, and with Respect.

“It’s all about getting the students excited to come to school and to have pride in their school,” said Principal Floyd. “We administered a survey to staff about how we could make Memorial School more welcoming. The results were not necessarily surprising but it did reveal simple improvements we could easily implement to make school more inviting to students.”

Mr. Floyd said, in addition to the new signage, more student artwork has been hung on the walls. He said there has also been a renewed effort to recognize achievements during morning and video announcements.

“We’ve got a great thing going here at Memorial Middle School,” he said. “PBSIS helps us recommit to expanding efforts to recognize and honor that fact and really to celebrate our school.”

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