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Duck Dash heads into second year

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The Blue Devil Duck Dash returns to Model Elementary for its second year later this month, and Principal Aimee Hays hopes the 3.1-mile obstacle race draws wide community attendance to benefit the school’s PBIS program.

The race will be held at Model Elementary, 3200 Calhoun Road, on Sept. 22, starting at 8:30 a.m. and going until noon. Those who sign up before Saturday will receive a Duck Dash T-shirt. Also, the entry fee is $25 through Saturday, after then the fee goes up to $30. A team of four can enter the race for $75 before Saturday and $85 prior to race day.

Entry forms can be picked up at the school or during the home high school football game Sept. 14. They are also available at the central office at 600 Riverside Parkway and the Rome News-Tribune office at 305 E. Sixth Ave. during business hours.

Hays said runners and walkers off all ages are welcome, as is anyone who just wants to come out and show their support. There will be wooden climbing walls, a mud pit and a bubble slide, and runners have to protect their rubber duck. A new addition this year, she said, per the suggestion of some of last year’s muddy participants, Rome-Floyd County firefighters will hose runners down at the end of the race.

A breakfast from Chick-fil-A will be provided, and Sweet Frog will have frozen treats available.

Proceeds from the Duck Dash go toward offering students trips and activities to reward under the school’s PBIS — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support — program. In December, students in grades three to five will go ice skating, while younger students will go to Kangaroo Jake’s. Also, students come up with their own rewards, like making slime, with teachers doing their best to comply, for requests reasonable enough.

Fifth-grade teacher and district PBIS coordinator Sue Turnquist, who helps organize the event, explained the school’s “Four Houses, One Family” motto. In researching how to implement their program, with a multicultural focus, she came up with the names of the four houses to represent four values staff want their students to display. Ari is brave, Kenii is wisdom, Nia is ambition and Pilar is dedication.

The PBIS program encompasses not just students, but teachers, administration and school personnel, like bus drivers. The houses are definitely competitive, Hays said.

Students can earn points for their house through their model behavior. Also, on the last Friday of every month, there are dress-up days, and those showing the most spirit are rewarded. Last Friday was farmer day, with students donning flannels, boots and cowboy hats.

Model Elementary is also the only school in the country to the Pupil Rewards Points platform, a product of English company Lawford Education, Turnquist said. The web-based program is fitting for 21st century kids, she said, providing a platform for students to be awarded digitally for their positive behavior — students earn individual points which go toward their house’s point total.

The rewards system has motivated students from the youngest age in the school up to the fifth-graders, Turnquist said, and allows them to stand out.

Those with questions about the Duck Dash can contact Angie Yancey at or contact the school at 706-236-1827.