Culler offers weekly 'Cougar Callouts' to student leaders

The sound of snapping fingers filled one of the sixth-grade hallways at Culler Middle School on a recent Friday morning. It was the sound of applause for students being honored with that week’s “Cougar Callouts.”

Every Friday at the beginning of the first- and third-period sixth-grade language arts classes, the six teachers and their students flow into the hallway outside their classrooms and take a seat on the floor against the lockers. Each teacher talks briefly about one of their students and what they’ve done to deserve a callout that week. They present the student with a certificate and later in the day call their family to share the good news.

“It recognizes students who go above and beyond, who are respectful and safe, who are leaders in the classroom,” said MacKenzie Armstrong, one of the teachers.

On this particular Friday, one student was recognized for stepping up and being accountable for his words and actions. Another student was honored for being an “all-around great student.” And another was applauded for being a classroom leader when there was a substitute teacher.

Teacher Josh Scheffert called out one of his students for multiple reasons.

“I chose an individual for their outstanding focus and commitment to academics in the classroom. They’re also a person of character because they’re kind and show a lot of compassion to a lot of people,” Scheffert said.

The Cougar Callouts align with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, which is a research-based framework for proactively teaching and supporting positive behaviors for students. Lincoln Public Schools is in year five of its implementation of PBIS.

Culler Associate Principal John Gloe said the callouts, now in their second year, have had a tremendous impact.

“It builds community,” Gloe said. “It rewards kids for what they’ve done and they really love it.”

Published: September 13, 2018, Updated: October 29, 2018

"It recognizes students who go above and beyond, who are respectful and safe, who are leaders in the classroom."

MacKenzie Armstrong, sixth-grade language arts teacher at Culler Middle School