Students at Highland Park Elementary School who have exhibited good behavior will be rewarded with a celebration this Friday.

Students who qualified will get to watch the Disney movie “Dolphin Tales 2” in the cafeteria. The good behavior celebration is held every nine weeks for students in each grade level that meet the criteria.

"We're trying to work on a way to have behavioral goals for our children," said Highland Park Principal Tara Burnett. "If we don't help the behavior, we can't help the academics."

According to Burnett, each grade level has set their own criteria in terms of what constitutes positive behavior.

"A second-grader's behavior criteria may look a lot different than for a fifth-grader," Burnett said.

Teachers worked together to formulate distinct behavioral goals for each grade level.

For example, second-graders must have homework turned in 90 percent of the time and have no bad reports from electives teachers in order to be eligible for the celebration.

One of the conditions for third-graders is to not get any bus slips for poor behavior before or after school hours.

"The one thing about third-grade that they did differently was having no bus slips on the criteria," Burnett explained. "Even if students are on the outside of the school perimeter, we want to let them know we are still monitoring their behavior because they represent Highland Park."

Fourth-graders are allowed a certain number of 'chances' or mistakes during a daytime. They can not lose more than 15 chances during a nine week period to qualify.

The outline for fifth-graders pinpoints turning in homework on time, reaching individual Accelerated Reader(AR) goals, zero principal referrals, and zero time spent in detention. 

Burnett said a larger percentage of students in the younger grades have qualified for the celebration than those in fourth-grade or fifth-grade. 

"We had approximately 12 to 15 in a group of 20," Burnett said in regards to the ratio of second-grade and third-grade students meeting the criteria. "There were approximately five to seven students out of 20 that met their criteria in the older grades."

The objective of having quarterly celebrations is to incentivize good behavior and therefore create a foundation for being a good citizen as the children get older. 

"We're not just trying to teach them academics, but we're also trying to teach them to be a great citizen," said Burnett. "We're talking about characteristics in education and what life skills that they need."

Burnett believes that a student's behavior can be a determining factor on whether he or she will succeed in the classroom.

"Poor behavior gets in the way of academics," Burnett asserted. "Our goal is to have everyone achieve high academic standards."

Another focal point is to inspire students to give maximum effort in their schoolwork.

"We've talked to the students about trying their very best," Burnett explained. "It's okay not to know something, but it's not okay to not try."

Highland Park is also finding ways to incentivize effort on state tests.

"For our state testing, we do incentives per day of testing," Burnett said. "If teachers feel like a child gave their best effort and took their time on a state test, they earn a reward of going to see a movie."

The school purchased a yearly movie license to be able to show any Disney movie during these celebrations. Students are allowed to bring a pillow and a blanket and will be provided popcorn.