N. R. Burger Middle School (Hattiesburg Public School District) and Ruff Ryders - Positive Behavior Intervention and Support System

Duration of partnership: 2 years
65 volunteers
638 students impacted

Ruff Ryders is a mentoring group consisting of professional and para-professionals such as ex-Navy SEALs, nurses, engineers, and others. The mission of Ruff Ryders is to instill core principles such as loyalty, dignity, respect, and honor that can help students in their day-to-day lives and also help them develop into future leaders. N.R. Burger Middle School partnered with Ruff Ryders to develop a school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support System.

The Positive Behavior Intervention and Support System Committee consists of faculty and staff, as well as representatives of the student body. Its primary mission is to increase performance levels and decrease the number of out-of-school suspensions by reinforcing positive behaviors and core values. Ruff Ryders are loyal stakeholders during many school and community events.

Ruff Ryders member Kim Catchings said, “Our mission compels us to involve the kids in as many of our projects as we can. They must be able to empathize and develop a sense of compassion for others, and to understand that a community can give back so much more than an individual.”

The Ruff Ryders partnership provided daily and weekly rewards for students who made progress. Celebrations were held at the end of every nine weeks to reward students, and have included a concert, sock-hop, and a student-teacher basketball tournament. After a tornado caused major damage last year, students volunteered with the Ruff Ryders in a community clean-up and recovery effort. School partners created “Burger Café” to provide real-world learning experiences incorporating math.

Community involvement has made a significant difference at Burger Middle School. In a two-year period, bus referrals and out-of-school suspensions decreased significantly, as well as administrative conferences with students and student referrals. Ruff Ryders President Calvin Russell said, “To have a true concern about children requires a level of dedication and commitment that exceeds normal expectations. Dedication and commitment are not enough — it must be sincere and consistent."