Behavior Management

Hero K12 Uses Positive Reinforcement to Correct Bad Classroom Behaviors Early On

There are many different ways of dealing with a “bad” student who acts out in class. While some may suggest out-of-school suspension, others argue that such severe punishment sets misbehaving students on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Instead of punishing students, Hero K12 wants to recognize all students in a positive way — and help improve school culture in the process.

“When you take a kid out of the learning environment, it puts them on a path that says they’re a bad kid,” said Bryan Landaburu, head of marketing at Hero K12, in a recent interview at ISTE 2017. “Hero, on the other hand, is really designed as an early intervention system. It will help schools and districts intervene with students earlier when minor things happen, so that they don’t repetitively become major things.”

For example, instead of giving one student a detention for being late to class, Hero K12 recognizes all of the students who arrived to class on time by awarding them points. The points in turn become currency and can be redeemed for real prizes, like extra test time or a pizza party.

Furthermore, the platform features a leaderboard that shows who is earning the most points in class, which is meant to motivate students to reach their own behavior goals. Principals, teachers and students can set short- and long-term goals on the platform.

Any web enabled device can access the Hero platform, which works in most web browsers. Additionally, the cloud-based solution can be integrated into most student information systems and learning management systems.

Before Hero changed its name in 2014, the company was originally called PlascoTrac and worked as more of a straight discipline system, Landaburu explained. “We realized down our path that it made a lot more sense to help schools focus on the good things kids do. In other words, catch them being good, not catch them being bad all the time.”

Now, the platform focuses on improving school culture by involving the three “heros” in schools: administrators, teachers and students. “It takes all three to drive a school climate,” said Hero K12 President Mark MacDonald, in a statement.

Hero is not available to individual teachers; entire schools or districts must purchase the platform. The goal is to create consistent classroom management policy across schools or districts, so that students will know exactly what is expected of them regardless of the class they are in at the moment.

Landaburu noted that the platform isn't trying to take autonomy away from teachers when it comes to managing their students’ classroom behavior. “What we help do is instill behaviors that the district wants its students to have, like teaching students to be good citizens and reinforcing to them that they’re on the right track.”

Hero is being used in thousands of schools across 43 states with more than 2.8 million students currently using the platform.

To learn more, watch the video below or visit the Hero K12 site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].