• What is #BuiltNotBorn/RISE?

    At Robert F. Kennedy High School, we believe that we are #BuiltNotBorn. It is not a program, rather it is a “systems approach” for establishing the social culture and individualized behavior supports needed for RFKHS to achieve both social and academic success for ALL students. Evidence-based features include:

    • Define expectations and explicit instruction of those behavior/social expectations
    • Acknowledgement of positive behavior
    • Ongoing collection and use of data for decision making
    • Administrative Leadership/Structures

    Robert F. Kennedy High School believes that all core instruction (and intervention and support) start in the general education classroom setting usually, and the counselors, faculty, and teachers at RFKHS are amazing!  We think that all students can learn and that all educators want to make a difference.  In addition, we believe that most students will succeed when a positive school culture is promoted, informative corrective feedback is provided, academic success is maximized, and use of pro-social skills is acknowledged.  

    When student problem behavior is unresponsive to preventive school-wide and classroom-wide procedures, information about the student’s behavior is used to:

    • understand why the problem behavior is occurring (function);
    • strengthen more acceptable alternative behaviors (social skills);
    • remove antecedents and consequences that trigger and maintain problem behavior, respectively; and
    • add antecedents and consequences that trigger and maintain acceptable alternative behaviors.


    In order to be Thunderbirds that are #BuiltNotBorn, we have created a RISE road map to guide student behavior. RISE is an acrostic representation of our umbrella expectations as they depict what it means to be a student at RFKHS. Within each setting, the expectation looks different and is tailored not only to the change in setting but, to the specific behavior we want exhibited in that area.

    R – Responsibility (Commit to graduating, work through failure, always give 100%)

    I – Integrity (Be on time, follow rules and procedures, use appropriate language)

    S – Service (Peer support, be helpful, be positive on social media, be a good citizen)

    E – Excellence (Act with maturity, lead by example, respect differences)

    An essential aspect of the #BuiltNotBorn system is establishing a Behavioral Expectations Matrix. In every classroom at RFKHS, those behavioral expectations are posted for students to follow and provide guidance on how students should behave in the classroom, around campus, and in the community. The behavior matrix was created with the input of staff members at RFKHS and with the intention of fostering positive behavior at all times.


    Another essential element of the #BuiltNotBorn system are the classroom lessons that center on RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY, SERVICE, AND EXCELLENCE. Two Tuesdays a month, ALL RFKHS students receive a short lesson about RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY, SERVICE, AND EXCELLENCE. The lessons are designed to be short, meaningful, promote positive behavior, and continue to encourage students to understand that Thunderbirds are #BuiltNotBorn.

    Because of the effort by RFKHS students, staff, parents, and community members, In 2020, Robert F. Kennedy High School, along with many high schools throughout the nation, were faced with the challenges caused by Covid-19 which included a majority of students attending class via distance learning. Despite the difficulties, RFKHS developed their RISE/#BuiltNotBorn system of support in order to help students become Genuine-Legitimate-Optimistic-Broad-minded-Adaptable-Loyal (GLOBAL) productive members of society.