By Connie and Lynn Baer | Foothiller Footsteps
Last school year, 2015-2016, Grossmont High School began the PRIDE program, a program designed to teach students school-wide behavioral expectations through rewards that reinforces positive behaviors. GHS PRIDE encourages students to be Prepared, Respectful, Involved, Disciplined, and Empathetic.
The program evolved as a result of the Grossmont Union High School District’s program Positive Behaviors and Interventions (PBIS), which was developed as a response to some district students not understanding appropriate school behaviors. In 2014-2015, Grossmont’s representatives to PBIS, with staff and student input, developed PRIDE.
Students are rewarded for their achievements by receiving Gus (our Foothiller mascot) heads. These heads accumulate towards a level of achievement: blue, gold, and silver. To achieve the blue level, a student must qualify for five of five Gus heads and have a 3.5 grade point average (GPA); gold level, four out of five Gus heads with a 3.0 GPA; silver, three of five with a .5 improvement in GPA.
Classroom teachers may reward their students with PRIDE perks. These perks vary with the teacher, but might include receiving one free homework pass, dropping the lowest test score, listening to music at the end of the class, or charging their Chromebooks during class.
An analysis of achievement data revealed that in 2015-16, 49 percent of Foothillers qualified for one of the three levels of achievement with 24 percent receiving blue. At the end of this year’s fall semester, 58 percent of the students had reached one of the three levels of achievement! The 9 percent growth affirms that the program is making a difference.
There is a PRIDE class of 34 students from grades 9-12, taught by Megan Long and Jeremy Hersch.
“I believe PRIDE has improved the culture of GHS by acknowledging the work and achievements of the students,” PRIDE class member sophomore Rachel Gallegos said.
PRIDE also inspires students who may not be in PRIDE, but who see their peers achieving a pride level.
“Two of the most effective aspects of the PRIDE program are the rewards given each semester, and the PRIDE Assemblies organized by the PRIDE class held each semester,” Gallegos said. “Not only are the students publicly rewarded in front of peers, but are personally recognized for their achievements.”
Another indication of the success of the program is that Grossmont’s faculty is currently discussing restructuring the Friday classroom schedule to allow time for weekly PRIDE lessons. This year the teachers found it difficult to teach their curriculum as well as PRIDE lessons, which are developed by teacher and PRIDE coordinator Joann Phillips. Nearly 70 percent of the faculty indicated their interest in restructuring the Friday schedule to include PRIDE lessons.
To learn more about Grossmont, the oldest high school in East County, a school that has always encouraged its students to be successful academically and to be caring, contributing members of society, please visit the Museum.
—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.