Peshtigo student treated to African musical performance

- Eagle Herald


“Our PBIS team decided to center our behavior reinforcements around the theme of music this year,” Principal John Bell said. “Thanks to the generous community support of World Fest and Arts Midwest, Peshtigo elementary students were able to attend a free concert featuring Ghana musician Okaidja Afroso and his band from West Africa. Since we had this concert opportunity, we decided to build it into our all-school incentive.”

Background


West African culture is steeped in music and storytelling. Okaidja Afroso comes from a family of musicians and storytellers called griots. As a boy, he worked as a fisherman, learning many stories and songs from the men he worked with. Afroso has worked for dance companies performing internationally and has produced multiple albums. He is now traveling throughout the Midwest sharing traditional African music to use “the power of the arts to help people unite and heal.”

“Reinforcing expectations positively is crucial with elementary students. It fosters a supportive and motivating learning environment, helping them feel valued and motivated to meet those expectations,” Bell said.

Students displaying all forms of positive behavior in Peshtigo, are rewarded with coupons called “bulldog bucks.” Students can trade in bulldog Bucks for many types of rewards. Individual rewards culminate towards each classroom too. Each classroom could earn one musical disk for every 100 bulldog bucks earned. Positive behavior reinforcement programs like PBIS not only reward students for individual behaviors, but also reinforces the classroom community and building as a whole.

“Once our students earned 20 classroom musical disks, we announced our surprise concert to students,” Bell said. “Our students loved the concert! It was an awesome experience for them.”

Bell explains that students were very excited about the experience. After the concert, they were able to learn more about West African culture through a question and answer session. Students questioned Afroso about the currency, sports, and wildlife of West Africa.
Since World Fest started in 2003, it has supported more than 280 public performances and 2,300 educational events, reaching more than 650,000 attendees, including over 450,000 young people.

THOUGHTS

“Teaching students about other cultures, and shining a light on positive student behavior both cultivate a flourishing learning environment,” Bell said. “PBIS behavior reinforcement helps to nurture self esteem, encourage a growth mindset, and reinforce a culture of respect and encouragement.

We appreciate World Fest for bringing Mr. Afroso and his band to our Peshtigo elementary students for this phenomenal learning experience!”