- Sponsorship -

Hooked on Good Behavior

Every other Friday afternoon, the school week ends in a big dance party at West Godwin Elementary School, with students and teachers moving and grooving after Principal Steve Minard cranks up the tunes.

Turns out there are a lot of reasons to celebrate at the kindergarten through fourth-grade school, and students are regularly acknowledged for them. Kindergartner Gabriel Martinez Aguillon, for example, “always shows self-control wherever he is in the school. He is consistently being an example for the class.”


Previous SNN articles on Godwin and PBIS


The Four FISH! practices West Godwin Staff follow:

  • Be There: Be emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.
  • Play: Tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!”
  • Make Their Day: Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life — not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.
  • Choose Your Attitude: Take responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Your choice affects others. “Is my attitude helping me to be the person I want to be?”

Source: FISH philosophy

That’s the message teacher Emily Jansen wrote for Gabriel on a yellow paper fish. Ten other students received similar FISH! messages on a recent Friday –announced and read in front of the entire student body– for reasons tied to the themes of gratitude and self control.

Teachers are constantly “fishing” at West Godwin, hoping to hook their students on positive behaviors. Fourth-grader Steve Rios was happy to be lured in with a FISH! award from his teacher Sarah David. “I’m completing my homework every day,” he said.

Third-grader Andrea Serrato also got fished by her teacher, Jessica Surdam. Her secret to self-control: “When other people make a fuss, I don’t make a fuss.”

Lessons From Fishmongers

Minard introduced FISH! assemblies six years ago. The concept is modeled after the FISH! Philosophy, a training solution started by documentary filmmaker John Christensen, who observed the enthusiasm of fishmongers at Pike Place Fish in Seattle and wondered what the secret was. Based on relationship-building, the philosophy creates a culture where people choose to bring their best to work. It has been adapted for K-12 schools.

“These assemblies are a celebration of the great things our students and staff are doing on a consistent basis,” Minard said.

At West Godwin, relationship and culture-building has several components. Staff members tie FISH! into the character value of the month studied through the TrueSuccess program, which focuses on developing positive behavior skills to make wise choices. Students explore topics including respect, wisdom, thankfulness, self-control, perseverance, responsibility, encouragement, caring and integrity.

The music goes “Now break your legs (break 'em, break 'em)”
The music goes “Now break your legs (break ’em, break ’em)”

FISH! assemblies also tie into the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, which sets common language and expectations school-wide concerning behavior. PBIS has led to a decrease in the number of discipline referrals at West Godwin and has created a positive school culture and climate, Minard said.

 

CONNECT

FISH Philosophy

TrueSuccess

SNN article on TrueSuccess

Principal Steve Minard hands out FISH! awards

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Teacher and coach applies lessons in classroom and on field

New Kelloggsville head football coach Brandon Branch also teaches science and math at the high school and looks to bring academics and athletics together whenever he can...

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Godwin Heights: first three weeks remote with gradual start of in-person classes

Godwin Heights will start the school year today with remote learning for all K-12 students for the first three weeks. A fully remote option also is available to all students...

‘There’s no replacing Milton’

This student went from principal’s office regular to class leader and role model...

Students speak out on protests, call for ‘a better America tomorrow’

For area students, the ongoing protests over police brutality could be a teachable moment, a call to action or both...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS