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DORSEY, Miss. (WCBI) – Students in one Northeast Mississippi school are learning about the rewards of positive behavior and actions.

Every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance, students at the Dorsey Attendance Center recite the “BARK Pledge.”

BARK is an acronynm for “Be Responsible, Always Respectful, Ready and Kind to Others.”

Principal Carson Cook heard about the program at a conference for educators and thought it would be a good fit for the K to 8th grade students at the Itawamba County School.

“This lets children know what we expect here, people’s expectations at their house, or cultures are different, respect to me means something different to you, so we set up as a school, as a leadership team and other teachers, what we expect here. then we teach it to the students instead of just expecting them to understand what we want them to see,” Principal Cook said.

It’s part of an initiative called “Positive Behavior Intervention System,” or PBIS.

Each student is given a QR card. Whenever a student brings homework to class, is seen doing a good deed, helping others or making a positive difference, a teacher, or administrator, swipes the students card with a phone app.

That builds up points, which students can use in each class.

“Some of them bought stinky feet passes where they can take shoes off for a day, a treat, where they can get in my candy box, in the treasure chest. They can get a do over pass, if they have not done so well on an assignment they can do it over or a half homework pass, sit in the teacher’s chair for a day pass,” said Cheryl Snipes, a math teacher at the school.

Students can save their points and spend them at the “Dogpound,” that’s the name of the school store that opens twice every nine weeks, and it is filled with even nicer prizes.

Principal Cook says the initiative is having a positive impact on the entire school with an 18 % drop in office discipline referrals so far.

Students are also noticing a positive change.

“I like that everybody is being good and we’re not fighting as much as we used to,” said 4th Grader McKenzie Hunter.

“People holding doors and not running through the hallways, so nobody gets pushed or shoved,” said 4th Grader Lucas Gautreau.

While they may not realize it, Principal Cook and teachers know students are learning valuable lessons and habits that will have a positive impact on them throughout their life.

Other Itawamba County Schools are expected to implement the Positive Behavior Initiative next semester.

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