Opinion: If the Lugo Coin is ignored, PBIS could fail


Gary Garcia

Don Lugo passport handed out to every student for a chance to win cool prizes when all coin slots are filled.

Gary Garcia, Reporter

The Lugo Coin school-wide reward system is one of the newest additions to Don Lugo High School on its path to receiving a silver medal for PBIS from the State of California. However, the Lugo Coin has been poorly implemented so far. If the staff doesn’t make adjustments soon, the opportunity to implement a school-wide reward system students care about at Don Lugo will slip between their fingers.

For context, PBIS is a behavioral system school’s implement to hope for outcomes of reduced problematic behavior, increased social behavior, along with improved emotional regulation, academic achievement, perceptions of school safety, and organizational health, according to a recent report from the University of Oregon. PBIS seems like a good system to encourage students to understand expectations and be involved in school, thereby making the school stand out and become more desirable, but not if the school and its staff can’t implement PBIS completely.

In Don Lugo’s first year of implementing PBIS, they received the highest award a school can receive in its first year of implementation, the bronze medal. On their way to the bronze medal, they created the school’s new behavioral mantra, “Be respectful, be responsible, and be involved.” Now students can see the slogan posted all over campus and all around classrooms. The implementation of this slogan has been easy for students to catch on to, not only because it is easy to remember, but because it is announced every day on the announcements and is seen all over the campus and classrooms.

“In order for Don Lugo to receive the silver medal, the school must achieve 70% or above in 15 different areas to fidelity,” explained PBIS Coach, Mr. Lima. Don Lugo has been asked to implement a school-wide reward system that all teachers have to use. The only problem is… not all teachers are doing it.

In a recent survey conducted by a team of teachers walking through campus in preparation for a county visit on March 10, out of 27 staff interviewed on campus, only 37% of them have given out a Lugo Coin in the past two weeks. The fact that the percentage of teachers that have passed out the Lugo Coin in the past two weeks is below 50% shows how the teachers and staff are not all on the same page. It makes the faculty look disorganized and unmotivated to receive the silver medal this year for PBIS.

Recently, the staff has been asked to reward students on Monday’s for wearing their college gear and Friday’s for wearing spirit wear in an attempt to reward more students. I see where there going with this. If teachers and staff could promote the Lugo Coin as they did with the slogan, the Lugo Coin and its rewards could be utilized as an incentive much more effectively, but the system is not being taken advantage of by teachers nor are the rewards that students can earn.

When the Lugo Coin was first introduced it was cool that kids could earn rewards like food, access to sporting events, and special rewards like valet service in the security cart to all of your classes, but it seems like over time, the influence of this reward system has started to fade. For whatever reason, teachers don’t pass them out except for a select few, so unless students are lucky enough to be in a “Lugo Coin” class, they’re not getting Lugo Coin.

In the same survey conducted by PBIS teachers, out of 64 students interviewed, only 53% of students reported that they had received an acknowledgement or sticker for being respectful, responsible, or involved. The lack of use is a waste of the system and confuses students. Everyone knows, if you want to see change, you have to be consistent in implementing it.

If Don Lugo is serious about earning a silver medal for PBIS, the knowledge and influence of the school-wide reward system has to be heavily advertised all around the school and implemented to fidelity as Mr. Lima suggests. The benefits of PBIS will make Don Lugo a more credible school with the gained rewards and a reputation for having more respectful, responsible, and involved students.

Besides, who doesn’t want free food? Lugo Coin is worth the effort, and I think the students would appreciate more staff participation in getting Lugo Coin off the ground. Being part of an award winning school matters to me, so I’m sure it matters to other students too.