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Behavior Program

At Echo Mountain Intermediate, our goal is to help students learn to assess their own behavior and understand how their actions effect their own learning and safety, as well as those around them.

For over 20 years, Echo Mountain has used the MAKE YOUR DAY Citizenship program to help attain this goal. MAKE YOUR DAY is designed to help students understand that their actions impact those around them and that there are expectations to being a good citizen in all areas of life. The intent of the program is to provide a tool to help students improve their citizenship versus being punitive.  

MAKE YOUR DAY Program Philosophy

The philosophical foundation of MAKE YOUR DAY at Echo Mountain is that each student is responsible for his/her actions and is responsible for coming to school ready to learn. Outstanding citizenship is promoted through this emphasis on self-responsibility. The MAKE YOUR DAY program provides a consistent school-wide citizenship and management structure. Echo Mountain staff and community members hold high expectations for all students on the way to school, while at school, and on the way home from school. MAKE YOUR DAY is a community-wide cooperative citizenship program that actively involves students in learning life skills important for long-term success. Students demonstrate citizenship by displaying self-discipline, engaging in self-assessment, and developing a desire to act for the good of their community.

The Echo Mountain MAKE YOUR DAY citizenship program centers on one rule: NO STUDENT HAS THE RIGHT TO INTERFERE WITH THE LEARNING AND SAFETY OF OTHERS. This rule places the focus on academics, with the understanding that a teacher's job is to teach and a student's job is to learn. Behaviors that negatively affect learning are dealt with immediately and privately. Because each student's self-esteem is important, teachers and students learn to give honest feedback to each other in a thoughtful, caring manner.

MAKE YOUR DAY encourages students to take responsibility for their actions. Students are expected to follow school-wide guidelines throughout their day, including attendance and academic performance. In meeting these expectations, students are challenged to work to their potential. Students' efforts are monitored and rewarded frequently throughout the school day. Mistakes in academics and behavior are viewed as learning opportunities. Problem solving skills are developed as students are given the opportunity to analyze their behavior and develop strategies that lead to success.

The foundation of MAKE YOUR DAY program is threefold:

  • Parents must be directly involved with their child's academic and behavioral progress
  • All students are capable of achieving success
  • Making appropriate choices at school, coupled with open communication between home and school, will generate student success


Adhering to the MAKE YOUR DAY philosophy of learning by making mistakes, students are not expected to earn all possible points in order to "make their day." If a child earns the required average number of points by the end of the school day, that child has made his/her day.

  • Students in Kindergarten through 3rd Grades earn an average of 10 points
  • Students in 4th through 6th Grades earn an average of 45 points

Students in grades K-3 may choose not to earn up to 6 points and will still be able to "make their day", while the students in grades 4-6 may choose not to earn up to 10 points and will still be able to "make their day". However, those students who choose to be placed on Steps 4 or 5 automatically forfeit the opportunity to "make their day."

Points and Concerns

Students start each period with 0 points and earn points by doing what is expected the best they can which includes not interfering with the learning and safety of others.

At the conclusion of designated periods, students review their own academic and behavioral performance - have I done what was expected and have I done it the best I can?

  • Students in grades K-3 have the opportunity to earn a maximum of 10 point
  • Students in grades 4-6 have the opportunity to earn a maximum of 40 points for each of the citizenship assessment periods.

Students have the opportunity to earn additional points during special area classes such as Art, Computers, Media, Music, Science Lab, and P.E.

  • 1st through 3rd grade students can earn a maximum of 13 points
  • 4th through 6th grade students can earn 45 points in these classes

Lunch/recess is also a period in which students can earn additional points (as above). Concerns are not allowed for these periods unless the student has made a clear and honest attempt to solve the problem with the other student who is involved, AND a responsible adult staff member, such as a lunchtime aide, has been informed of the conflict. See the section on "Out of class recourse" for students.

Students who are on Step during Points may give their points and defend themselves during concerns. However, while on Step, they have forfeited the opportunity to bring up a concern with another student's points. "Concerns" give students the opportunity to help each other make better choices if a student chooses to interfere with the learning and safety of others.

Students demonstrate citizenship by displaying self-discipline, engaging in self-assessment, and developing a desire to act for the good of their community. After all students have evaluated their own performances, classmates have an opportunity to provide feedback to each other if that student's behavior directly affected their right to learn or their right to have a safe environment. The teacher may have concerns that will address academic and behavioral expectations. Concerns are expected to be given in a thoughtful, caring manner. Actual point values are not determined until the concern period is completed.

Teachers will monitor concerns closely and when necessary make the final determination concerning points.

Taking Students 'Off-Points'

Some students may not assume responsibility during Points and/or Concerns. If students do not responsibly evaluate their academic and behavioral performance, they may be taken "off points." The teacher models how to appropriately evaluate one's effort by determining the students' points for them. The students are given the opportunity to earn this privilege back by showing that they have learned how to use Points appropriately. Students who choose to use concerns irresponsibly will lose this privilege until they can demonstrate that they are able to use concerns responsibly.

Daily Communication Between Home and School

An important part of Echo Mountain's MAKE YOUR DAY citizenship program is that it affords the opportunity for parents, students, and teachers to communicate daily. Throughout the day Echo Mountain students in grades Kindergarten through sixth grade will record points earned for MAKE YOUR DAY. A student has made his/her day if he/she earns the required average number of points by the end of the school day.

If a child makes his/her day, then the parent knows that s/he has done what was expected and has done it the best s/he could.  PLEASE CONGRATULATE YOUR CHILD FOR BEING A RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN at Echo Mountain!

If the student does not make his/her day, s/he will have a note that will describe the behaviors s/he chose that day. This does not mean that the child has failed, is in trouble, or is being "punished." This allows a parent an opportunity to discuss productive decision-making and positive choices with their child. The next school day the child begins the day with the opportunity to "make their day".

Parents are required to sign the "I Did Not Make My Day" note and have the student return it to the teacher the next school day. The signature on the "I Did Not Make My Day" note is expected back the next school day to ensure timely communication and student success. If the signed "I Did Not Make My Day" note is not returned the next school day, the student will adjust his/her points for not doing what was expected.

If the student does not bring the signed note back again the second day, there will not be a second points adjustment, but a phone call will be made by the classroom teacher to a parent in order to maintain close communication.

Extra Communication Between Home and School

In any citizenship program, parent concerns will arise throughout the school year. Just as teachers should directly communicate with parents when concerns arise, we invite our parents to directly communicate with teachers or administrators as concerns arise. We will do our best to work with you to solve problems in order to enhance each student's success at Echo Mountain.

Out-of-Class (or Common Area) Expectations

Students are given the opportunity to practice their citizenship skills in a less structured environment before school, at lunch and recess, and after school. However, the students are monitored during these times in order to provide a safe environment for all students. Outside of the classroom, students are expected to conduct themselves in a way that respects the rights and safety of other. These expectations include:

  • Respecting the learning environment around them
  • Walking appropriately in the hallways, breezeways, and sidewalks
  • Walking to and from school in a safe, orderly fashion, using designated crosswalks
  • Adhering to all playground designations and expectations, and playing safely

Out-of-Class Recourse (for Students)

Student behavior expectations extend from the time they leave home in the morning until they return home in the afternoon. Students should be aware of the steps they can take to limit problems with others and make these times as safe and enjoyable as possible. Stages of recourse for students who need help with a problem include:

  1. Use "I" statements to tell others not to interfere with your safety
  2. Use duty aides or crossing guards to intervene in ongoing problems
  3. Use concerns in the following point period to help assure that the other student understands how their behavior was hurtful
  4. Use teachers, the social worker, or an administrator to help resolve an ongoing problem

Classroom Recourse (for Students)

If a student is interfering with the learning and safety of others, he or she will be asked to choose step. If a student is asked to choose step by his or her teacher, he or she needs to take a seat that faces away from the academic environment. If the student believes he or she was mistakenly placed on step, he or she has recourse to discuss it when the teacher returns to take him or her off step. After a discussion between the teacher and student takes place, the teacher makes the final decision as to the reasonableness of the student being on step.

Inappropriate Behavior - Steps

Behavior that interferes with the learning or safety of others is dealt with through Steps. The systematic enforcement of Steps gives students the opportunity to review their behavior, think of positive, alternate behaviors, and make a decision on their next course of action. Please refer to the Echo Mountain Elementary School Parent/Student Handbook, and the Paradise Valley School District Parent/Student Handbook for student behavior expectations.

Step 1

If a student's behavior interferes with the learning or safety of others, s/he will be asked to take a seat that faces away from the academic environment. For a short period, no more than five minutes, the student is given the opportunity to quietly think about his/her behavior. Students may have to remain on Step longer than five minutes if the teacher is engaged in an activity that cannot be interrupted.

If the student is able to verbalize his/her inappropriate behavior and indicates a willingness to behave appropriately, s/he returns to his/her seat. Students who choose to go to Step 1 repeatedly may be placed on a verbal contract with the teacher and remain on Step all period

Step 2

If a student fails to take advantage of Step 1 by doing what is expected, s/he chooses to stand facing away from the academic environment in order to make a decision about behaving appropriately. After a brief time, if the student is able to verbalize the inappropriate behavior and indicates a willingness to behave appropriately, s/he returns to Step 1.

Step 3

If a student continues to behave inappropriately on Step 2, s/he is choosing to focus on the school rule (NO STUDENT HAS THE RIGHT TO INTERFERE WITH THE LEARNING AND SAFETY OF OTHERS), which is placed in front of him/her. This helps the student focus and concentrate on the decision-making process. After a brief time, if the student is able to verbalize his/her inappropriate behavior and indicates a willingness to behave appropriately, s/he returns to Step 2.

Note: Steps 1, 2, and 3 follow in succession. A STUDENT MAY NOT BE PLACED ON STEP 2 OR 3 WITHOUT STARTING ON STEP 1. At Step 3 the student makes the choice to behave appropriately or continue to Step 4.

Step 4

If a student chooses to continue to Step 4, s/he will be given a Step 4 Conference Referral and sent to the office to contact a parent. The student is expected to explain why s/he has chosen to call a parent conference. Please do not request to speak to an administrator or staff member at this time. The appropriate time to discuss the matter is during the conference when you come to school. The student will remain on "Step 1" in an alternative classroom until the parent and the student are available to meet with the staff member in order to determine if the student is ready to return to class for the purpose of learning. The student is expected to follow "Step 1" expectations while waiting for their opportunity to conference with their parent(s).

If a parent cannot conference until the next school day, then the student will be dismissed from the alternative classroom at his/her regular dismissal time. The student would then go home as s/he normally would. They will start the next day in the alternative classroom unless they have completed the conference before school starts. If a conference cannot be scheduled within twenty-four hours, the student will be placed on an in-school suspension and then a parent conference is required for readmission at the start of the next school day. After a successful Step 4 conference at school with the parent, child, and referring staff member, the student then returns to Step 1 for an automatic choice, Steps 3, 2, then 1 for a series of choices.

Step 5

A student chooses to advance to Step 5 when s/he is out of control, exhibits behaviors that are totally inappropriate for school, exhibits inappropriate behavior when waiting for a Step 4 parent conference, or is demonstrating actions that are clearly a Step 5 offense.  At this point, an administrator or designate e will contact the parent so that the child will be immediately removed from school. A school suspension may be a consequence for Step 5 offenses. A parent conference is required for readmission at the end of the suspension.

Additional Information Regarding Steps

  • Behaviors constituting advancement to an automatic Step 4 are also on page 23
  • After a successful Step 4/5, a student may request make-up work from teachers
  • School suspension may also be a consequence of the Step 4 conference.
  • f a student exhibits inappropriate behavior while waiting for the Step 4 conference to occur, the student chooses to advance to Step 5
  • Only school administrators are authorized by the school board to suspend students from school


When another student responds, distracts, or interacts while another student is on any Step (1, 2, 3, or 4) or while conferencing on a Step 4, he or she has chosen to be on the same Step as that student. Shadowing interferes with the privacy of the student who is on Step or in conference with a parent.

Conferences with Parents

The purpose of Step 4 and Step 5 conferences is to help the student understand what is expected at school and make a commitment to try to fulfill Echo Mountain's expectations. Because it was the student's choice to have the conference, the student is expected to conduct the conference.

It is the parent's responsibility to determine that the student has conducted the conference appropriately and is ready to return to the classroom. This happens when the conference is considered successful by the parent. The parent should consider the following when determining if a conference has been successful:

  • Student stated the problem honestly and completely
  • Student took responsibility for his/her actions (when appropriate the student accepted financial responsibility to replace stolen, damaged or destroyed property)
  • Student used problem-solving skills to verbalize positive alternatives
  • Student expressed desire to return to the classroom
  • Parent agreed that student is ready to return to classroom

Note: Hostile student or parent behaviors, or other inappropriate actions, during a conference may result in a rescheduled conference with an administrator present.

Frequent Use of Steps

A student who chooses to go to Step frequently during a class period is interfering with the learning process. The teacher will point out that the behavior is a problem and the next infraction will result in remaining on Step for the remainder of the period. If this type of problem continues, the teacher will contact the parent in order to discuss it.


Contracting is an arrangement made between a student, their parent, and teacher or administrator. Contracting is necessary when a student demonstrates that the regular Make Your Day plan is not helping them to choose behaviors that do not interfere with safety or learning. Changes may be made in the plan that is designed to help motivate the student to choose another course of action. The teacher will inform the student AND parent of changes in the standard plan in advance of its implementation.

Opting Out

Occasionally, a student may raise his/her hand and ask to go to Step 1, in order to remove him/herself from the learning environment. This is a positive step toward self-control, and the student has the opportunity to earn points while on Step 1. While a student may still earn points and has the potential to "make his/her day," they may also earn another step if they do not follow the expectations for Step. However, a student is not participating in the academic environment while on Step, which may have academic consequences.

Automatic Step 4

Immediate Step 4 placement will occur should a student choose the following behaviors:

  • Assault, battery, or fighting
  • Threat of violence, harm or intimidation
  • Sexual harassment or misconduct
  • Discriminatory slurs or slanders
  • Defiance of authority for safety concerns
  • Acts of dishonesty (lying, stealing, cheating, forgery, etc.) may not be considered an automatic Step 4 the first time, depending on the severity. The student will forfeit his/her opportunity to make his/her day on the first offense. Parents are notified that a second offense will result in a Step 4 parent/student conference
  • Severe disruptions to learning and safety not listed above may also qualify for an automatic Step 4 at the discretion of the staff member

Automatic Step 5

If a student's behavior is such that it surpasses the parameters of the Make Your Day program and violates the Paradise Valley district's Discipline policies, the student will not participate in Steps, but will be immediately referred to administration for disciplinary measures. Those infractions are outlined under the Paradise Valley Policy section of the PVUSD Parent Handbook, and include, but are not limited to:

  • Use or possession of alcohol, tobacco, drug paraphernalia, any drug or any weapon.

Make Your Day Program History

The Make your Day Program was implemented at Echo Mountain at the start of the 1998-99 School Year. The spring of 1997 we formally surveyed students about their perceptions of the effectiveness of their school. The students indicated a strong discrepancy between the level of respect they expected from other students and the level at which that respect for other students actually existed.

In 1996-97 the number of disciplinary referrals in the office exceeded 500, and the following year, 1997-98, there was only a small drop. In 1996-97 we raised our expectations and accomplished the goal of making students accountable to all adults on campus, rather than just the homeroom teacher. In 1997-98 we became aware that students were continuing to misbehave when they thought there was no adult near by. We started looking for a way to address this in our 1998-99 student management plan.

A team of teachers interested in this problem researched different programs and surveyed the staff. Parents were also surveyed in the spring of 1998. Staff members visited other Make Your Day schools, listened to presentations from staff at other schools that are using the program, and voted in support of starting the program. The program was explained to the site council, and at a spring PTSA meeting. The entire staff, including aides, teachers and administrators, receives ongoing training in the use of the program.

The challenge for future years is to refine the implementation of the program. Our goal is to assure that students and parents truly feel that allowing steps and assessing points are used to help students define their choices, rather than punish them. We expect this challenge to remain until everyone is as concerned about the learning of every other student, as they are about their own wants and needs.