Tyrone Elementary SOARs Into the New Year

The elementary school has re-branded and improved its PBIS program for the 2019-2020 school year


Photo courtesy of Mike McKee

Three of the "tickets" that TAES elementary students can receive for positive behavior. The "freeze" ticket for positive hallway behavior, the regular "SOAR" ticket, and the new "Golden" ticket for going above and beyond.

When Tyrone Elementary School teachers and staff met early in the school year, they identified student behavior in the hallways as an area of concern. So to encourage more positive behavior in the halls and other common areas, they came up with the “freeze ticket.”

It’s pretty much the same as what we have done for years, but we wanted to change the name so that it’s the same all the way from elementary through middle school”

— Elementary School Dean of Students Mike McKee

“If a student receives a freeze ticket, they can come immediately to the main office and get a freeze pop,” said Elementary Dean of Students Mike McKee. “The kids have been pretty fired up about that.”

The “freeze ticket” is just one of the new additions this school year to TAES’s Positive Behavior, Interventions, and Support (PBIS) program. According to PBIS.org, PBIS is “an evidence-based three-tiered framework for improving and integrating all of the data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day. It is a way to support everyone – especially students with disabilities – to create the kinds of schools where all students are successful.”

The most obvious change to the PBIS program is the name.

Instead of students receiving “T-tickets” for positive behavior, they now receive “SOAR” tickets.

The change was made to more closely align the elementary PBIS program with the middle school, where they also use the SOAR acronym.

“It’s pretty much the same as what we have done for years, but we wanted to change the name so that it’s the same all the way from elementary through middle school,” said McKee.

At the elementary school, SOAR stands for Safety, Ownership, Achievement, and Respect.

But the name change has caused some confusion.

“There currently seems to be some confusion among the parents and community members, but I think it’s mostly because they don’t understand that the SOAR tickets are the same as the T-Tickets,” said TAES Principal Kristin Musselman.

In addition to the SOAR and the freeze tickets, students who set a good example by consistently going above and beyond to help their classmates or teachers can receive a “golden ticket.”

A golden ticket is harder to get than an average SOAR ticket. When a student receives a golden ticket they can go to the main office to pick a prize and put their name on the golden ticket chart. When a line on the chart is complete, the group of students on that line gets an additional prize like eating lunch with Mr. McKee, or sitting in the teacher’s chair.

Pullquote Photo

I think it’s nice because we have a lot of parties. My favorite was the snow cone party”

— Third-grader Leanna Beard

There are also other new ways for students to spend their SOAR tickets this year.  Students can still use their tickets to buy items at the SOAR Store, but the committee has added events that students can spend SOAR tickets on.

“There has always been a process for spending tickets, but this year we’ve added monthly celebrations which give the students more opportunities to use their tickets,” said Musselman.

In October, there was a school dance for all of the students. Other activities include snow-cone parties, movies, and a special carnival that teachers are planning for May.

Teachers have even integrated the expanded list of SOAR activities and events into their curriculum.

“Some of our teachers have done lessons on budgeting and saving using the SOAR tickets,” said Musselman.

No matter what the name, the purpose of the PBIS program was, and still is, to focus on and encourage positive student behavior.

“We want to reward kids to do positive things in hopes that those who do not will want to change their behavior,” said Musselman.

The students seem to be enjoying the changes so far, especially the monthly events.

“I think it’s nice because we have a lot of parties. My favorite was the snow cone party,” said TAES third-grade student Leanna Beard.