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Pioneer PAWS Program & House System

Pioneer PAWS ProgramPioneer PAWS Program & House Information

Schools are successful when they help children grow academically, socially, and emotionally.  For this to happen it is imperative that we have a safe environment that is supportive and conducive for growth.  By setting forth clear social and behavioral expectations and directly teaching students about those expectations, it is our goal is to create a positive atmosphere for optimal learning. In the fall of 2014, Pioneer Elementary adopted the Montana Behavioral Initiative (MBI).  MBI is a proactive approach in creating positive behavioral supports and social culture in our school.  Using data-based decision-making we align curricula instruction with positive behavioral supports to encourage success in all areas.

As of 2018, Pioneer merged our MBI program with our Response to Intervention (RTI) program to form our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Program. MTSS addresses both behavioral and academic outcomes for student success.

Please take time to make yourself and your child familiar with our Pioneer PAWS policy along with its rewards and consequences.  Classrooms will emphasize a positive behavior plan that will allow your child to achieve the best possible education where he/she feels safe and is able to experience academic success.

Pioneer has set four school expectations which help to build our Pioneer PAWS Program.  These expectations are:

  1. Be Respectful  –  Treat yourself and others with high regard
  2. Be Responsible –  Be honest, take responsibility for your actions and words
  3. Be Safe –  Take care of self, others, and the environment
  4. Be a Learner –  Active learners are involved and prepared.

The MBI Program has 4 components (definitions listed below):

  1. A matrix of behavioral expectations
  2. Lesson Plans to teach students the behavioral expectations
  3. An acknowledgment/reinforcement system
  4. Behavioral Infraction Notice

The Pioneer PAWS Programs expectations are to be followed throughout our school and includes common areas such as the lunchroom, playground, bus and each classroom.

Teaching Appropriate Behavior

Through MBI, students are taught school-wide expectations and have opportunities to practice them.  Staff members teach what behaviors are expected in the hallways, cafeteria, bathroom, playground, classroom, bus, before school, after school, and at assemblies.

Behavioral Infraction Notice

While our MBI approach emphasizes appropriate behaviors, some students may still violate school expectations.  In these situations students will receive a Refocus slip.  In the instance that a student receives a Refocus slip for a major infraction, the student will consequently receive an Office Referral.  Please see the attached Office Referral Procedures form to learn more about this process.

Pioneer’s goal is to teach children alternate behaviors to ensure a school environment that is safe, FUN, free from distraction, and to help all children maximize their learning potential!

Our behavioral infraction policy is based on an understanding of mutual respect and responsibility.  If there are individual difficulties, we will work closely with the parents and students to ensure that the learning environment continues to be a positive place for everyone.

* Minor Infractions:

Students making poor choices will be instructed using the following prior to a consequence:

  1. Student will be given a prompt
  2. Student will be redirected
  3. Student will be retaught the expectation
  4. Student will be given an option; follow through with request or serve a minor consequence
  5. Student will be given a consequence and a minor refocus form will be completed for staff documentation purposes.  The teacher may make parents aware of incident.

Note:  If a student receives 3 Refocus forms for the same minor infraction in a month’s time, the minor becomes a major infraction at which time the student will meet with our school administrator and may be given a more serious consequence.  The resulting consequence may be up to a day of In-School Suspension.

* Major Infractions (Office Referral):

If a teacher or staff member classifies a student’s behavior as a one-step major infraction, the following will occur:

  1. Student will be given a refocus form to address his/her behavior.  The student will call home to report his/her behavior to the parents and the form will be sent home for signature. The student will meet with our school administrator and may serve a day of In-School Suspension.

If a student receives 3 major infractions within a year the student will follow the same steps listed above, however, at this point, a more severe consequence will be handed down which may include Out-of-School Suspension.

Expected Behaviors on Campus

This Diagram includes a cross-reference to learn how to Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe, and Be a Learner in the various Pioneer routine or setting. The corresponding text is below.

Always Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe, Be a Learner

In the Hallway

  • Hands and Feet to Self
  • Walking Feet
  • Be Kind
  • 0-1 Voice

In the Library

  • Hands and Feet to Self
  • Walking Feet
  • Be Kind
  • 0-1 Voice
  • Use a Stool

In the Bathroom

  • Flush & Wash Your Hands
  • Use the Garbage
  • Hands and Feet to Self
  • Walking Feet
  • Be Kind
  • 0-1 Voice

In the Lunchroom

  • Trash in the Trash Can
  • Clean Up Your Area
  • Hands and Feet to Self
  • Feet On Floor
  • Push in Your Chair
  • Walking Feet
  • Be Kind
  • 0-2 Voice

On the Playground

  • Use it Return it
  • Pick Up Trash
  • Be Nice
  • Walking Feet
  • Be Kind
  • 0-4 Voice
  • Show Good Sportsmanship

 At the Bus Area

  • Use it Return it
  • Pick Up Trash
  • Be Nice
  • Walking
  • Be Kind
  • 0-3 Voice
  • Show Good Sportsmanship

On the Bus

  • Hands and Feet to Self
  • Back to back, Seat to Seat
  • Aisle Clear
  • Walking
  • Be Kind
  • 0-2 Voice

Panther Houses – PAWS Acknowledgment/ Reinforcement System


  • to build and promote community across the grade levels and throughout the school
  • to encourage positive behavior and expectations
  • to teach students to take ownership of their role in the community
  • to promote healthy competition

This year at Pioneer, we will be transforming our PAWS Program to improve implementation and begin to foster intrinsic motivation by utilizing a House System.  Students and staff will be sorted into the three different houses. Each house will form a community that will be their school family. We will be establishing a school culture that will encourage school pride and tradition!  House points will be awarded to students for exceeding PAWS expectations.


House Name Color Symbol

House Leaders


Mentis (intellect) White open book Rau/Williams
  character       Integritas (integrity)       Dark Blue  hand & heart Melber/Montgomery
  creativity          Fictus (create)   Silver (gray)      think cloud          Eissinger/Deutsch
apprentice Doctrina (learn) Light Blue owl    ———————

Pioneer Elementary’s Mission Statement: At Pioneer Elementary School, we believe that all children can and will learn. Our mission is to provide a total dynamic educational system centered around student success, personal development, and preparation for life. We are committed to providing each student with optimal, individualized learning opportunities so that they can reach their full academic and social potential.

To this end, we will inspire, engage, and prepare each student for tomorrow by encouraging creativity, developing character and building strong minds through individual and group activities.

Awarding Points:

  • house points can be earned based on positive behavior -1 point (bean) per behavior (ex: being helpful in class or walking quietly through the hall).
  • Staff can also award “shout-outs” (our PAWS Cards), for good deeds that go above and beyond normal expectations. These are meant to be written compliments worth 2 points per behavior.  
  • house points cannot be taken away once earned
  • a celebration will take place at the end of each trimester for the winning house
  • a recognition will take place at the end of the year for the ‘House of the Year’ at the end of the year BBQ and graduation ceremonies.
  • house points will start over each trimester, but a cumulative total will be kept for the end of the year

Examples for awarding points

Character Ed:

  • opening the door for someone
  • helping someone pick up something
  • using manners
  • encouraging a peer
  • being on-task when the majority of others choose not to be
  • modeling expected behavior in common areas or classroom
  • wearing house colors on Spirit Day (Fridays)


  • being a self-directed learner
  • exemplifying problem-solving behavior
  • going above and beyond on assignments
  • raising proficiency on tests and/or meeting or exceeding their goals on the NWEA MAPS Assessments

How it works

All students will be randomly selected and sorted on the first Friday of our new school year (8/24/18) by popping balloons with paper slips inside. Information on our new house system and order forms for house t-shirts will go home on this day.

Kindergarten students are automatically part of Doctrina, the light blue house. This is the “house training” and groups of Doctrina students will be part of another house’s activities, apprentice-style. When they reach first grade, they will take their turn popping the balloon to take their place as a full member of one of the other houses.

Teachers will have three colored containers in their classrooms.  Each time a student earns a house point, the student will place a bean into his/her class container.  At the end of each day, the three classroom containers will be emptied into the school’s house container near the front office.  The school’s house containers will be a visual display that students can use to see which house is in the lead for that trimester.

Shout-outs (PAWS Cards) will be pinned to the hallway bulletin board. Periodically, the principal will select one student from the shout-out board to visit the office for a “PAWSitive” office referral. They will receive a certificate and a call home to tell the parent about the students’ good work.

At the end of the trimester, the house with the most points will earn a trophy and a special celebration.

Monthly Activities

Two Fridays a month, a “House Meeting” will take place. One Friday will focus on the lesson for the monthly value, the second Friday will be an activity geared toward that value.