Piney Ridge Elementary School has been named a National School of Character by Character.org. Only 4 schools in Maryland and 73 in the nation received this designation. This program recognizes schools that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development that has a true positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate.

Piney Ridge Elementary School places a focus on students having a “growth” mindset of positivity and learning. School counselor Christina Snively presents character focus lessons to all students in grades K-5 each month and students also participate in small group work.

At Piney Ridge Elementary School, the character traits of Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience and the behaviors associated with these traits are the foundation of the “PAWsitive Behavior” Program – which stands for Perform Respectfully, Act Responsibly, Work Resiliently. Students take the “Piney Pledge” promising to practice the three traits.

Students in grades K-5 earn “PAW Bucks” to recognize these behaviors. “PAW Bucks” can be cashed in for various prizes and privileges, and students can pool their rewards for a class activity such as a 30-minute movie, helping students in other classrooms, or providing peer tutoring.

A Student of the Month award program was implemented this year. Teachers may select one student from their class who has lived up to the core value traits. The students receive an award “brag tag”, a certificate, and a guest spot on the school TV station. They also have their picture prominently displayed in the lobby showcase.