Neosho High School students were treated to a high slide, inflatables, karaoke, a dunk-tank, and a concert by a Branson entertainment combo on their second day back in school on Thursday, but it wasn’t all fun and games.
“PBIS is about teaching our students everyday life skills,” explained Jonathan Wengert, assistant principal and coordinator of the Positive Behavior Intervention & Support program. “We want our kids to act right, we want to teach our kids about responsibility, working hard, to have respect, teaching them to have good character.”
Prior to being paired off with half the student body to spend a portion of the afternoon outside on the practice football field with food, drinks and fun while the other half of the PBIS Kickoff Celebration included a concert in the gym by the Branson performing group Buckets N Boards, Wengert said the students spent the first five hours of the school day going over the PBIS matrix.
“It talks about our expectations for every part of the building, whether it’s the classroom, hallway, locker rooms, everywhere, so we’ve gone over that just to show them what we expect of them, and then we finish off with the celebration,” he said.
Wengert said the end result is that students are taught good character traits, and added they already do a good job, but it’s always good to reinforce that to keep them in the right direction.
“Anytime we can bring people in to let them have a good time and see our teachers have a good time with them, it’s great for our school,” he said.
Wengert said a drawing will be held each week of the school year for kids who are doing the right thing and are good models for other students, who will be awarded with little prizes. He encourages contributions from the community to provide awards to kids who are models for others. Wengert said an end-of-school celebration is planned for in the spring.
Tonna Powers, NHS Math teacher and PBIS coach, said the program is a culture for the high school and the district as a whole.
“It’s our positive behavior program,” noted Powers. “And it just helps instill in our students the expectations here at the high school just the same as they would be expected in public and in society. Basically we practice respect, act safely, work hard and show responsibility.”
Gareth Sever and Matthew Levingston performed their unusual brand of music to each half of the students at a time. Sever said the duo created Buckets N Boards about nine years ago while street performing at the landing.
“For the past five years we’ve been doing a two-hour stage show in Branson at the Clay Cooper Theatre, and next year we’ll be opening up at the Starlight Theater in March and doing shows all spring break and all summer long,” he said. “In the off-season we travel around with Disney Cruise Lines and have about 15 weeks headlining on their ships. And we’ve just had a blast putting together a kid-friendly show that people across all ages can appreciate.”
Sever described the show as all rhythm-based, percussion and tap dance, built around comedy.
“Since we moved the show to the stage from the streets, we’ve incorporated guitars and singing and ukuleles,” he said. “We play propane tanks and squeaky toys in our show, and just about anything we can find to do something with, and it’s a blast!”
Not only do they present positive character to the students through their music, Sever said Buckets N Boards spreads the idea that music can be made out of anything.
“And you can have fun doing anything you choose to do in your life,” he said.
The band started off its set by drumming on and climbing a ladder, then moved on to using a variety of buckets and trash cans for percussion instruments, and concluded the show on guitar.