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KV S.T.R.O.N.G. (Kern Valley Supportive, Together, Resilient, Outgoing, Noteworthy, Generous) is an approach used by school personnel to establish evidence-based behavioral interventions to help students achieve success in social, emotional, and academic areas. One of the tenets of this proactive approach to behavior management involves eliminating punishment and shifting the focus to positive reinforcement to encourage advanced student behaviors. 

This can be achieved through KV S.T.R.O.N.G. positive rewards.The effectiveness of positive reinforcement is certainly nothing new. 

Educators who use this approach have found that using rewards as incentives to promote students’ positive behavior is effective for a variety of reasons:

1. PBIS Positive Rewards Help to Create a Positive School Culture 

It makes sense that rewards could contribute to a more positive environment, as opposed to negative reinforcement, which do the opposite. But what may not be quite as obvious is how rewards can help to evolve the entire culture of a school. When educators provide incentives to students to encourage positive behavior, students are more likely to engage in constructive behavior. The more students participate in positive behavior, the more positive the school culture becomes.

According to Interventioncentral.org, a variety of positive rewards can be effective incentives, including:
>A trophy or certificate awarded to a student who exemplifies good behavior
>Special edible treats, such as gum
>A prize from a “prize box” >Early release to lunch
>Lunch with a teacher>Helping a library media specialist do his or her job
>Gift cardsWhatever types of rewards are used, they are often focused on learning, playing, and helping others.

2. Positive Rewards Lead to Sustained Behavior Changes

Providing that the right types of rewards are used, and that they are presented to students fairly and consistently, they can result in a significant and genuine change in student behavior — even for many students with serious discipline problems. By implementing KV S.T.R.O.N.G. positive rewards school-wide, as well as in the home, the students are encouraged to display positive behavior both in the educational environment and in their free time. This makes it easier for them to permanently adopt the beneficial behavior. When students are following the same rules both at school and at home, their positive behavior is even more likely to become habitual. Rather than consciously acting in a positive manner for the sake of a reward, these children adopt positive behavior as a genuine part of their personalities.

3. Positive Rewards Can Build Intrinsic Motivation

Although every educator would welcome the notion that each student carries an intrinsic motivation to learn and act appropriately, this is not always the case. While some students do actually behave and perform well simply for the self-satisfaction involved in doing so, many students will be more motivated when a reward for good behavior is presented. In fact, even for adults, it’s significantly easier to become motivated when we know that we’ll receive a reward for successfully completing a task.

Over the course of time, however, students who are consistently rewarded for positive behavior, effort, politeness, generosity, grades, class engagement, or other behaviors tied to important skills, actually develop their own personal motivation to continue to engage in positive behavior without being prompted by the promise of the reward. The intrinsic emotional outcome of the student’s good behavior, in essence, becomes the reward. They come to learn that if they successfully complete their task or what is expected of them, the entire learning process becomes easier and more enjoyable.

4. PBIS Positive Rewards Can Be Used Effectively in Many Contexts

While rewards are certainly effective in school environments, a rewards-based system performs well in a wide variety of situations. Parents can use rewards within the home environment. Even employers have come to understand the power of rewards in motivating their employees. Regardless of the context, rewards can be an appropriate and effective method to encourage a child (or an adult) to become comfortable with the skills they’ll need to be successful and happy in life.

5. Positive Rewards Can Be Used to Build New Skills

Not only are rewards effective in modifying students’ behavior, but they can also be useful in encouraging children to acquire or develop new skills. Children are often reluctant to learn new skills, such as playing an instrument or taking ballet classes, for example. But when a student understands that a reward will come with his or her additional effort, the student is often much more motivated to develop the skill. Once a student masters one skill, he or she will be more inclined to try others as well.

While the KV S.T.R.O.N.G. approach is valuable on many levels, KV S.T.R.O.N.G. used in conjunction with rewards is even more effective.