Farmdale Elementary School officials said their new alternative to detention provides a better way for misbehaving students to deal with stress in their lives.
Instead of waiting at the principal’s office as punishment, sitting in a place populated by office staff, waiting parents and other students, the misbehaving students are sent to a re-purposed computer lab called the Fox Support Center, according to a Merced County Office of Education news release.
The center, established in October and named after the school’s mascot, represents a “paradigm shift” that focuses on meeting students’ needs rather than punishment, Principal Kathy Moser told the Sun-Star Tuesday.
In the center, students are offered a secluded, private place where they can learn to regulate their own behaviors with items such as bean bag chairs, bouncing balls, stationary bikes, stand-up desks and stress balls.
School staff also created a video for the center that shows students the right way to behave and use playground equipment, using humor such as going down a slide the wrong way to better connect with the students.
“The concept is for students to take ownership of their behavior,” Moser said in the release. “It puts students in charge of their own learning. It gives them a place to sit, relax and gain their poise.”
In addition to misbehaving students, the Fox Support Center is open to students who want extra time for assignments and tests, an alternative to school recess and those just having a bad day. The room is divided into different areas that focus on the type of attention each student needs.
The center is based off Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, a federal program designed to improve social, emotional and academic outcomes.
While statistical data on the center’s effectiveness isn’t yet available because it opened in October, Moser said staff has noticed students starting to better manage their own behavior.
The center is managed by Vice Principal Brenda Jones and also includes six teachers, a counselor and the special education director. It was created with help from the Weaver Union School District.