Be Respectful. Be Responsible. Be Compassionate. Be Safe.
For some of Ottumwa’s youngest learners, learning what these Bulldog Beliefs mean starts with actions. At Douma, Awesome Tags are used to reinforce these concepts. Awesome Tags are small paper recognitions given to students when they successfully display a building expectation.
The initiative is part of the district’s Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The concept is to recognize positive behavior. “It absolutely makes a difference,” said Melanie Dalbey, a kindergarten teacher.
Her students might not be able to define big words like compassionate but Dalbey can help them learn by saying things like, “I like the way you helped your friend tie their shoe. You were showing compassion . . . or thank you for making a safe choice.”
Each Awesome Tag gets the student’s name on it and is added to the classroom bucket. Once full, the bucket is added to the neighborhood tub. Students get excited about filling the bucket. And rewards for full buckets and tubs can include eating breakfast wherever you want, having a dance party, or extra recess.
Douma kicked off the year with a school-wide event on the playground. OHS cheerleaders created cheers featuring the Bulldog Beliefs and Awesome Tags. And now with the construction of a large “O”, students look forward to filling it with Awesome Tags to earn a school-wide award. “Everyone is working towards the big goal,” Dalbey said.