Case Studies


Sands Montessori Puts Strengths at the Center of its PBIS Program

Sands Montessori Facts:

Students: 716
Free and Reduced Lunch: 23%
Caucasian: 71.6%
African American: 14%
Asian or Pacific Islander: 2%
Hispanic: 2.7%
Multiracial: 9.7%
Students w/ disabilities: 10.8%

Teachers use strength spotting cards to reinforce positive behaviors in their students.

As schools move to modernize and improve their approach to discipline, effective social & emotional programs like The Character Effect™ are offering a positive, strength-based alternative. And it’s having quite an effect.

When Cincinnati Public Schools were asked to implement PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) to improve student outcomes, Sands Montessori was well-equipped to make the shift thanks to The Character Effect™. The Character Effect™ is a complete, universal social & emotional learning program that improves the culture of a school’s community by building on everyone’s innate strengths. The Character Effect™ combines a focus on the 24 character strengths and the integration of mindfulness to create dynamic change in the classroom. This strengths-based approach gave the school the tools to easily implement PBIS.

Sands Montessori uses the “strength of the week” concept as a central part of their Universal Tier 1 PBIS program. This approach affirms student’s strengths and behaviors helping to build positive internal beliefs in their students and create a positive school culture. Dubbed “Soaring Strengths”, Sands Montessori is celebrating strengths in a major way. For example, if the strength of the week is “leadership”, students may be recognized for organizing their peers during a group project, helping tutor another student, or completing assignments early and helping out in the classroom.

Each week teachers, paraprofessionals, and even the students themselves strength spot each other using the strength of the week. Teachers use strength spotting cards that are displayed at the front entrance of the school. Students receive any strength spotting cards at the end of the week to take home and share with their parents. This reinforces positivity and also provides a common strength language that even extends to home.

Weekly announcements highlight the names of students who have demonstrated the strength of the week as well.

A community partner donated t-shirts, so each week, three students get a “soaring eagle award” t-shirt and have their picture displayed at the front of the school.

Not only do all of these items support PBIS initiatives, they further integrate The Character Effect™ program into the culture of the school.

Staff response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The students understand when they win that it’s a special honor. They take great pride in showing off their picture in the Soaring Strength shirt too.”

“Each week we add new winners and pictures; I’m excited to see the display at the end of the year.”

The Character Effect™ has helped support PBIS initiatives at Sand Montessori, shifting from a reactive disciplinary approach to a culture of focusing on the students’ positive behavior and strengths.

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