This month, discipline problems inside Bibb County schools made headlines, including a stabbing at a middle school. New data shared with the Board of Education Thursday night shows overall student behavior is improving countywide.

Walking the halls of Rutland High School, it’ll be hard to find any troublemakers.

“We’ve had 959 students who have not had an office discipline referral this year, out of 1,003 students,” Rutland High Principal Kent Sparks said.

That means about 95% of his students are doing the right thing. According to the district, schools countywide are seeing similar results.

So far this year, they've had 2,500 less referrals than at this point last year.

“It’s most definitely the largest decrease that we've had, and I would attribute that to the work teachers are doing,” Assistant Superintendent Jamie Cassady said.

He says there is not just one thing that caused the number of behavior issues to drop, it’s a combination of things. The first thing is the district's behavior model known as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS. He says district hired full-time in-school suspension instructors in all of the schools. They work with students to change their behavior.

“In past years, ISS would be more of a punitive punishment. Now when they go to ISS, we've turned it into an academic, therapeutic model,” Cassady said.

He also credits the work of the district's four behavior interventionists.

“What they do is going into the school and work with students, and they work with teachers on classroom management,” Cassady said.

Sparks says all of those things come together to give teachers more time to instruct and students more time to learn.

“Rutland is becoming known for respectful, responsible young people,” Sparks said.

The district also says there have been about 3,000 fewer days of out-of-school suspension for students compared to this time last year.