PS 249 starts incentive program for kids

Brooklyn Daily
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Third-grader Melvin Talleyrand has fun dancing.
Students perform on African drums.
Firefighter Jim Lee played the bagpipes at the event.
Students perform a “positive dance” at PS 249 in Ditmas Park.
(From left) The school’s guidance counselor Kathleen Amsterdam, and assistant principals Kelly Ho and Anna DeJesus dressed as buzzy bees for the event.

A Ditmas Park school has figured out the best way to keep its kids positive: pizza parties.

PS 249, an elementary school on Marlborough Road, has started its Positive Behavior Intervention Services, a program in which kids and classrooms get points for good behavior. Those points can add up to get them movie and popcorn days, dance-offs, and, yes, pizza parties.

“It gets the staff involved and it’s fun for us,” said Kathleen Amsterdam, the Prospect Park South school’s guidance counselor, who helped organize the festival. “The kids are constantly bombarded with testing and homework and requirements — but this is the best way to keep them engaged.”

PS 249, which got an “A” in the city’s report card grading system, officially kicked off the program last week with an exciting fair filled with performances, African drumming, and poetry readings. Some administrators even dressed up as bees to remind students to be safe, responsible, and respectful.

And school officials say the program of incentivizing positivity is working wonders.

“We’re changing things so you would say, ‘Walk in the hallway,’ not, ‘Do not run in the hallway,’ so everything has a positive connotation,” said Amsterdam. “Once we have good rules established, the teachers model it for the students.”

Talk about positive reinforcement!

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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