PAX Good Behavior Program Gets High Marks from Haverhill Teachers, Students

Pentucket Lake Elementary School. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

A new program, being implemented in the Haverhill school system, is getting high marks by teachers and students alike at the Golden Hill School and the Pentucket Lake School. The PAX Good Behavior Program is designed to help students to learn to regulate themselves and get along in social situations by focusing on positive behavior.

Golden Hill Principal Bruce Michitson says that since the program was initiated a year ago at that school, bad behavior issues have dropped by two-thirds. In turn, this significantly cuts the amount of time being spent on non-learning issues.

Tracy Alexander, a fourth-grade teacher at Golden Hill, says that prior to this program, she and other teachers believe far too much of their time was spent dealing with disciplinary and other non-learning issues but under the PAX program there has been a palpable change in student attitudes and more time being devoted to teaching.

“I used to take five minutes just to get in line to go to specials. Now it takes a minute and they have so much fun doing it. So, that itself is a huge component of it that really helps with our learning time, for sure,” she says.

So, how does the program work? As mentioned, it is based on positive reinforcement but it also uses audio and visual cues by teachers and students alike, such as blowing a harmonica to get the student’s attention as well as using hand signals and certain words and phrases to help rein in students when minds, voices or general behavior begins to wander.

School Superintendent, Margaret Marotta has called the program “a tremendous success.”

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