Mantua – Sir CC, the mascot from the Cleveland, can be seen at every Cavaliers home game cheering on our team and energizing the fans. At Crestwood Intermediate School, Mrs. Patton’s students quickly recognized Sir CC in a Brain Rush brain break video they completed in class. Just for fun, they decided to tweet a video of themselves completing the challenge, gaining the attention of Sir CC himself. Unbeknown to the class, their video earned the school a surprise visit from the big guy himself.

So when a school-wide assembly was called, students entered the cafeteria by grade level, taking their seats on the floor, listening to the beat of a fifth grade drum circle, playing REMO drums, lead by music teacher Mrs. Jarvi. They knew the assembly was their reward for the positive behavior program instituted at the start of the school year, a program called Crestwood Cares. But they didn’t know what to expect once they music stopped and physical education teacher Mrs. McKinney opened the assembly. She echoed their thoughts, saying, “ You may be wondering why we’re here. Well, we’re here because of you!” She went on to praise the children for their positive behavior. When she told them they’d be rewarded by a visit from some ‘superstar’ athletes, the kids went wild.

That’s when fifth grade teachers Mr. Light ad Mr. Grubbs, posing as Cleveland Cavalier players, came out to demonstrate their basketball skills during a school-wide Brain Rush brain break. Students laughed at their teachers’ silly antics, but roared in delighted when Sir CC, the mascot from the Cleveland Cavaliers, soon entered the gymnasium from behind a curtain. Sir CC then proceeded to lead the student body in a Brain Rush brain break, to much cheering and applause.

According to CIS Principal Michelle Gerbrick, the Crestwood Cares positive behavior intervention system was introduced by a District-wide committee with the goal of reducing office referrals — often referred to as disciplinary trips to the principal’s office. Students learned behavior expectations during the first days of school in classrooms, hallways, and on buses. Positive behavior is rewarded throughout the week in the form of Care Cards awarded to students by teachers, bus drivers, even custodians, who catch them doing something good.

At the end of each week, each Care Card is entered into a prize drawing. That week’s winning students can choose from prizes ranging from a premium parking space at the High School, to eating lunch with a special teacher at the Primary or Intermediate School. During the first quarter of the school year, 1,350 of Care Cards were issued to CIS students. More importantly, however, Mrs. Gerbrick has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of students being referred to her office as positive behavior helps dispel the negative.

In addition to rewarding positive behavior, students also learn how to more effectively communicate their feelings through the Kimochis program. Armed with the knowledge that kids often ‘act out’ when they don’t know what they’re feeling, school counselors use the program’s plush characters labeled with feelings like silly, frustrated, left out, and cranky, not just the standards like happy, sad, and mad. By getting kids to recognize their feelings, councilors can better address students needs, and understanding often results in better student behavior.

The receipt of a nearly $900,000, three-year DOE Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant has made this program, along with additional school counselors, REMO Drums, Brain Rush games, and Kimochis tools available for the district.