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Mascot a beacon of positive behaviour

Andrew Livingston
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Weledeh Catholic school student Sarah Black says the Positive Behaviour Support program she promotes among younger students is an important aspect of learning.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

From front to back: Weledeh students Sarah Black, 13, Lynell Potyok, 12, and Patrick Dooty, 12, pull a Christmas card to Lupi, the school's voice for their Positive Behaviour Support program, from his mailbox outside the main office at the school. - Andrew Livingstone/NNSL photo

"I think it's a way for kids to learn a little bit more about how to be a good person," she said. "The young kids get really excited when Lupi is around."


"Lupi is the active, living piece of the program," said Weledeh assistant principal Liz Baile. "He exemplifies the positive and what is means to be positive."Lupi is the mascot for Weledeh Catholic school's Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) program, a system used by the school for almost a decade used to teach kids about the importance of proper student behaviour. The program focuses on positive affirmation of a student's actions in the learning environment. Students who need to be told when they are out of line receive a positive reminder from teachers.

"Behaviour research has shown that punitive measures won't change a student's attitude," Baile said. "Affirming the positive actions of a student can help change the outcome and improve their overall success."

Lupi is a major part of the program. Speaking to the entire school every Tuesday, the wolf mascot reads a letter to the students applauding their efforts, but also offers advice on what the school as a whole needs to focus on.

"Every six weeks we go through a different value; right now we are on honesty," Baile said. "We use these words and kids know them, but they don't really know what is behind it. We try to teach them the structure of the values."

Lupi speaks about the main focus of the program: respect for oneself, others and property. The expectations are the same for students, teachers and administration in the school.

Baile said more than 90 per cent of the staff buys into the program and with this there are visible and concrete expectations for the students to follow.

"We want to show everyone that by following these expectations and knowing how to behave they will improve in their academic results," Baile said. "Adults have different expectations so we try to have one set of common expectations so there is no loopholes or differences. It's the same across the board."

Students who exemplify the spirit of the program receive Lupi tickets, which could land them prizes or an award as student of the month. The student PBS team works to spread the message of the program to the younger kids.

"If you're on this team you have to be a role model and be able to show that you understand the program," Grade 7 student Patrick Doody said. "You have to live it."

Lynell Potyok, 12, said if they set good examples then the point of the program catches on.

"If they see us doing good things, it shows them that the older you get, it's still cool to be nice to people and do good for the school and outside the classroom," Potyok said.

Baile said it's important for kids to be recognized for their good behaviour and their contribution to a healthy and enjoyable learning environment.

"A lot of energy goes to the kids who are not being good so we need to recognize that and show what people do well," Baile said. "You'll work harder and better if you're acknowledged for it. People need that."