TUPELO – To increase academic achievement, Tupelo Public School District is installing a new student behavior strategy in its pre-K through fifth-grade classrooms.

CHAMPS, which stands for Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation and Success is a model that focuses on preventing misbehavior through proactive and positive instruction instead of negative disciplinary measures.

For example, reinforcing and rewarding a student who is following rules is as important as scolding one who is acting out.

“You’re looking for a 3:1 ratio. By that, I mean for every correction there needs to be three positives,” TPSD Director of School Improvement Paige Tidwell said. “We want our teachers to build positive relationships with our students. We want to make the average student feel above average and want to give our teachers practical tools they can use to increase student engagement and promote positive behavior.”

The CHAMPS approach starts with a classroom structure in which behavioral expectations are clearly laid out to students through conversation.

Next in the CHAMPS acronym is help. This aspect lays out how students can receive answers to their questions during an activity.

Then there is activity, where the students need to understand the task and objective at hand.

Fourth, participation means finding out how to keep students on-task, working to the best of their ability, focused and engaged. Together, these practices are meant to equal success.

“It starts in the classroom, but CHAMPS isn’t limited to the classroom,” Tidwell said. “You can use the same approach in hallways, bathrooms, playground, cafeteria and on the buses. It’s a carryover. Expectations must be set for all areas of the school. For the past several years, schools have had the expectations for the common areas posted. We will be taking an inventory to determine if any gaps exist.”

The district is patient in its approach to the new behavior model and recognizes that it could take two full years to fully implement. Beyond classroom teachers, bus drivers have been trained to use the same strategy to keep order on their routes.

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