At Oyster Point Academy, our goal is to give students the opportunity to choose to be successful. Each student carries a daily merit agreement that reflects both their academic goals and their behavior during the day. These academic and behavioral goals are individualized for each student based on their IEP and Individual Service Plan (ISP). As a student progresses, these goals will change to reflect their progress and the skills they are working on.
The merit agreement is sent home to the student’s parents for a signature, and merits earned dictate the student’s step at the end of each day. Rising through the different colors of the step system, the student will earn privileges (for example, merits can be used to make purchases in the school store.) This system assists students in addressing short- and long-term goals. Merits that have been earned are never taken away; however, a student may drop back a step due to a serious behavioral incident.
Our approach is to address any adverse or appropriate behaviors as they occur. This means we recognize positive acceptable behaviors and reward them using merits, tangible rewards, incentives, privileges and steps. In turn, unacceptable behaviors are addressed immediately through the inability to earn as many merits, or other interventions either inside or outside the classroom. The goal is to help the students learn to recognize and control immediate impulsive behaviors, understand the consequences of the behaviors and eventually internalize control of these behaviors. This involves approximating appropriate behavior in small steps until the student is able to maintain appropriate behavior in a less restrictive environment.
In order to effect these changes, we utilize strategies that include verbal encouragement, a verbal and visual cueing system, a color step system, a daily merit agreement, incentives, time-out, self-imposed time-out, removal of privileges, and therapeutic holding.
Merit System Overview
Oyster Point Academy Merit Sheets are designed to modify classroom behavior and increase academic performance by using a Positive Behavior Incentive System (PBIS). Students have an opportunity to move through the level system in as little as 80 school days with positive behavior and academic merit points.
The level system is structured as follows:
Students are able to earn a total of 35 merit points daily (5 merit points per class, 7 periods per day). However, the students’ goal is to achieve a minimum of 28 points (80%) in the following areas for each class period:
Students are provided opportunities, with redirections by staff, to make positive choices and earn their points. Each level is designed to include fading prompts/scaffolding to assist in modifying behavior. For example, a student on Red Level has three opportunities to earn their point. Students on Yellow Levels and Green are given two chances, whereas Blue Level students are only afforded one opportunity. It is the goal that when students move through the level system they will require less redirection from staff and maintain their own appropriate behaviors.
As students progress through the level system, they are given incentives (rewards) based on their behavior. Incentives earned based on the merit level achieved by the student are as follows:
*A Weekly Data Summary will be used to monitor student progress.
What are Dolphin Dollars?
Dolphin Dollars are individualized incentive-based rewards. Students can earn Dolphin Dollars by earning a minimum of 30 merit points on their daily merit sheet. Students can also earn Dolphin Dollars on a weekly basis. Students who do not receive bus conduct notices or referrals for one week can earn Dolphin Dollars at the end of the week. Students can also earn weekly Dolphin Dollars if they do not receive a School Discipline Referral for a one week period. Dolphin Dollars can also be earned from any OPA Staff member at any time for outstanding behavior. Dolphin Dollars can be used to make purchases from the school store and snack cart on designated days.
Purchases from the school store are divided into two sections: standard purchases and Dolphin Dollars purchases. All students are allowed to make standard purchases for items such as No. 2 pencils, erasers and plain notebooks.
Dolphin Dollars purchases are for “higher priced” items, such as sports logo pencils, cartoon character notebooks, educational flashcards, and other specialized rewards.
Red (0-420 Points)
Yellow (421-980 Points)
Green (981-2,240 Points)
Blue (2,241+ Points)
Staff will help students change inappropriate behaviors through several methods:
Mediation and Conflict Resolution – If students need help settling an argument or need to talk about a concern, they can request that staff assist them by mediating or helping resolve a conflict or by sitting down with them and the person with whom they disagree, and helping them talk appropriately about the problem.
Processing (can occur anytime, anywhere) – After exhibiting inappropriate behavior, the student will be asked to process with the teacher or staff supervising the student. Processing means the student will talk about the behavior that led to the consequence being served and what can be done differently to prevent the same situation from occurring again. Not being able to process appropriately (i.e., discussing the situation calmly and accepting responsibility for his/her behavior) may mean an extension of the chill time until the student is ready to speak calmly with staff.
Non-Violent Crisis Intervention – Therapeutic Holding may be used if a student demonstrates aggressive or harmful behavior towards others or themselves. In the event that a student needs more support than can be provided by a chill time to ensure the safety of these students, staff may utilize approved Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI) techniques. Students are held until they are able to demonstrate they are able to control their behavior and stay safe. Please note that physical intervention of any kind is only used as a last resort to maintain the safety of the individual student and others. All Oyster Point Academy teachers and staff are trained annually on how to successfully de-escalate students and are trained in these techniques. In addition, to annual NCI training, all teachers and staff are trained in First Aid and CPR.