By: Keisha Crawford
I am a professional middle school counseling director at a rural Title 1 school in South Carolina. This is my first year at this school, however I have worked in the educational field for 16 years. My previous experience was in middle school(s) in Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia . My other interests include grant writing, diversity training and mentoring young ladies. I am very passionate about working with young people and teaching them how to advocate for themselves and problem solve. I have been involved with PBIS for the past 4 years and this year I lead a team to implement PBIS in my school. I am very passionate about PBIS because it is designed to recognize and reward good behavior and to spend more time giving attention to students that are making good choices with their behavior.
PBIS – Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support – PBIS is a school wide behavioral system that establishes clear behavior expectations to support and protect the instructional settings for all students. Students are recognized for positive behavior and awarded points. The idea is that 80% of students are behaving and following the expectations set by the school. In this system, students are taught the expected behaviors, just as they are taught to read, do math or play a sport.
There are several methods to manage PBIS. We manage PBIS using a point system much like a grading scale. The goal is for the student to maintain as many points as possible to be in the “green zone”. 85-100 points is the “green zone”, 70-84 points is the “yellow zone” and anything below 70 is the “red zone”. Students are awarded points for behaviors based on the PRIDE matrix. We refer to it as showing GRIFFIN PRIDE – Personal Responsibility, Respect, Individual Readiness, Demonstrated Learning and Expected Behaviors.
Administrators must model the concepts and be vocally supportive of PBIS. I am very fortunate that my administrative team has been very supportive and really embraced PBIS. My principal saw immediate results with our PBIS system when we implemented voice levels in the hall and routes for the students to walk in the hall. Another concept of PBIS is 4 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction with students. My administrators are constantly modeling this with students and teachers. They must also speak the “PBIS” language. It is a universal system and the instructional leaders must model, support and promote PBIS.
There are thousands of schools using the PBIS model. It is a national phenomenon. There is definitely a PBIS movement happening across the United States. The school district that I work in has decided to implement PBIS in all of the schools in our district. PBIS has a website PBISworld with hundreds of interventions and the PBIS organization has national and regional conferences every year.
Major referrals are those referrals that are managed by administration. Individual schools determine what would be a “major” infraction based on their code of conduct. Some schools may consider inappropriate language a major infraction while other schools may not. Some major infractions may include inappropriate physical contact, skipping class or bullying. Minor referrals are those managed by the teacher or teacher teams. Minor incidents can include talking during class, cheating, electronic or phone violation. Minor incidents can be managed by teachers and should be used as talking points with parents about behavior. In the PBIS system, the goal is to “major in the minors”.
Schools can create their own system of rewarding students in this model. Some of the most common practices is to reward students with “bucks”, tickets or coupons that students can use to purchase things or use to get prizes. At my school, students in the Green and Yellow zones get to participate in our monthly school wide celebrations. Some of our celebrations for the year included a dance, pep rally, dodge ball game, faculty vs. staff basketball game, visit to USC for women’s basketball and an end of the year trip to Cariowinds amusement park.
Parental support for PBIS at the school has been a challenge this year, however, we have created some ideas to involve parents. One idea is to create a “passport’ of some sort for parents that outline the PBIS school wide expectations. We are also going to give parents “PRIDE coupons” to give to students that they observe modeling good behavior. Parents can support PBIS by speaking with their child about their behavior and reinforce the system that is in place at school. We communicate to parents what zone their child is in by sending an email to the parent and student. Teachers also post the “green” zone list outside the classrooms. We have a PRIDE matrix that outlines the expected behaviors and every student receives a copy so that parents can have a hard copy of the matrix as well.