Students rarely yell or shove one another in the hallways, because politeness matters in this middle school.
At Fertita Middle School, they walk calmly to and from class and lunch. Some even stop to shake hands with Principal Lisa Burkhead.
The Fertita Firebirds wear a black, blue, green, or red shirt to identify which of four houses they were randomly sorted into at the start of the school year. Each house earns points for sportsmanship, generosity, and being respectful. Points are never deducted, unlike in the popular Harry Potter novels.
The behavioral model used at Fertita is known as “Manners Matter”. Students are encouraged to make eye contact with speakers, always be honest, and have a positive attitude. The approach has yielded positive results. In one year, Fertita has seen a 39 percent decrease in expulsions and a 24 percent decline in suspensions. Student reports of bullying have declined a whopping 90 percent.