The cafeteria inside Pine Mountain Middle School (PMMS) is equipped with something very few, if any, middle schools have — a game center. From Wii games and foosball to basketball and board games, the cafeteria has them all. Students can earn the chance to play them by positively displaying the school’s core values: commitment, leadership, integrity, mindfulness and balance.
“So we can better serve our students, we constantly seek new and innovative strategies to make our learning community the best possible,” Principal David Nelson said. “When we looked at all the student recognition opportunities we provide, we noticed that we had a lot more academic recognition programs than we did positive behavior recognition programs. We also want to continue to create a culture at our school that is fun and engaging for 11- to 14-year-old students. The gaming center helps us improve our school by addressing both — adding more positive behavior recognition opportunities and making our school more fun and engaging for our kids.”
Twice a week, teachers can nominate students who demonstrate the core values for an opportunity to use the reward center, which was named The Summit.
During The Summit’s grand opening in March, students who earned the school’s Mighty Mustang for the second quarter were able to break in the game center.
“Gaming and physical activity are very popular with students,” Nelson said. “When we saw an opportunity for improvement, we ran the gaming center idea by our students, and they took ownership of the concept. The support of our families, planning from our staff and buy-in from our students made this idea possible.”
Currently, the reward center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays during the students’ 30-minute lunch period, but “our intentions are to make The Summit available to students Monday through Friday,” Nelson said.