kickball action

Golden Isles Elementary School principal Terre Miller kicks the ball during a kickball game between Golden Isles Elementary School and Sterling Elementary School last week.

Her team may not have taken home the victory, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t win the prize.

Sterling Elementary School Principal Kelly Howe and her team of teachers and administrators took to the field last week for the third annual kickball match up against an equally passionate team from Golden Isles Elementary School.

While Howe and her team lost points-wise, 8-3, the school’s students and staff won big.

“This was a big morale booster for our staff and our students,” Howe said.

Held at Glynn County Stadium, the kickball event served as a fundraiser for the school’s positive behavior rewards systems. The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS program, has been in place at county schools several years and is now conducted in more than 15 schools in the county.

Through PBIS, students earn points for positive behavior throughout a nine-week period, which can then be cashed in for prizes, such as visits to the bowling alley or group trips to the movies.

The goal of PBIS is to decrease office discipline referrals for inappropriate behavior and promote a more welcoming classroom climate.

Nationwide, some 22,000 schools are implementing PBIS, which in the state has saved countless instructional hours that otherwise would have been lost to discipline, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

As the school year moves on, the prizes for earned PBIS points get bigger. For Sterling Elementary students, the grand prize for yearlong positive behavior is a trip to Summer Waves water park on Jekyll Island.

The trip, being provided for students in the third, fourth and fifth grade, is a benchmark of the PBIS program, Howe said.

Howe is hopeful the Summer Waves trip after end-of-semester testing in May will be a worthwhile opportunity for 300 to 400 students at her school.

The trip comes with a cost, Howe said.

More than $4,000 was raised from contributions by players, tickets and concession sales for the kickball game.

“This was a very successful event,” Howe said. “We’ve held various other fundraisers in the nine years the school has been here, like volleyball or baseball games. I’d love to have this kickball event or something similar lined up again next year.”

The event was a highlight for staff at both schools. After-school practice sessions brought school staff together and inspired various pranks and friendly shenanigans.

“Our mascot snuck into their school, their mascot snuck into our school, and we just made the whole event a big, bonding experience,” Howe said. “We’ve just had a lot of fun with this fundraiser. And it was as successful as we had hoped.”

Spotlight on Schools appears Wednesdays. Contact Anna Hall at ahall@thebrunswicknews.com or at 265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.