Penguin Promotes Good Behavior in MIdwest

The Penguin Post has learned that a large stuffed penguin has begun showing up in different locations at Hills Elementary in Iowa City, Iowa at the beginning of the current school year last week.  It showed up in classrooms and on the school’s website. It appeared at a puppet show produced by MBA students from the University of Iowa on Aug. 27. Late last week, it was scheduled to appear in a series of pictures to promote good behavior on the school’s playground. Sometime in October, the yet-to-be-named penguin could go home with a student who sold at least 15 items in a school fundraiser.  “It’s a little bit of a motivator,” said Kris Mowatt, director of the Hills family resource center. “We like it. It’s cute.” The stuffed penguin, standing about 3 feet tall, was left by Nonprofit Services, which was used by the school’s parent-teacher organization for a fundraiser. Through Wednesday, students sold items such as wrapping paper and cookie dough to benefit the school.

In this case, it will be used to pay back the PTO for its purchase of a $4,000 SmartTable, a tabletop computer system that students can use for reading, math and other subjects, Mowatt said. The SmartTable was purchased in memory of former student Gabe Graham, who died in a car accident over the summer, she said. “Equipment like this gets kids excited,” she said. “It’s a 21st century school. They’re learning to use technology.” Nonprofit Services left behind the penguin, which Mowatt said she intended to move out of the front office and use around the school to promote its Positive Behavior and Intervention System, or PBIS, program, including it showing good behavior traits on the playground. “We’re a PBIS school, so we thought we would use it to show our expectations,” Mowatt said. Students said they were happy to have the penguin around their school as sort of a mascot. “He’s fun and fuzzy,” said fourth-grader Rylee Harris, 9.  Fifth-grader Semaj House, 10, said he was hopeful the penguin would remain at the school. “We should keep it here because it’s cool,” he said.

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