As we focus on creating ideal learning environments for students, many education professionals recognize the importance positive student behavior plays in promoting safe and productive learning environments. Educators across the nation are increasingly turning to a team-based and systematic approach for teaching school-wide behavioral expectations known as Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS).
This system is based on the idea that using continuous education, modeling and reinforcement of positive/desired behaviors offers a systematic and predictable approach to creating a safe, positive and productive learning environment to maximize academic achievement int he school setting.
This article explores the preparation a local school district in Michigan is undertaking to implement a pilot program this fall.
Rockford Superintendent Mike Shibler says the district will pilot a program at Meadow Ridge Elementary this fall aimed at establishing the social culture needed to achieve academic and social gains.
District families will be learning about PBIS, Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, which is used in schools nationwide to create a positive climate for learning. PBIS is a team based, systematic approach to teaching behavioral expectations throughout a school.
The premise is that continual teaching, modeling, and reinforcing of positive behavior will curb discipline problems and promote a better climate for productivity, safety, and learning.
“We are trying to establish a strong proactive climate for teaching and learning,” said Shibler, who said he is looking for the older students to be leaders and model respectful behavior to the younger children. “How children and adults treat each other can have a lot to do with learning. This will involve everyone.”
Instead of using a host of individual behavioral management plans, there will be a school-wide discipline system for the classroom as well other areas, including the cafeteria, playground and the bus.
There are more than 16,000 PBIS schools in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Steve Goodman, director of Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi), said there are approximately 790 schools that are adopting school-wide PBIS in Michigan. He said the schools are at various levels of implementation.
The program is supported by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who sees it as an important preventative approach that can increase the capacity of the school staff to support children with the most complex behavioral needs, thus reducing the instances that require intensive interventions.
Shibler said the district has a Response to Intervention (RtI) process designed to help schools focus on and provide high-quality instruction and interventions to students who may be struggling with academics and/or behavior. He said PBIS will complement that work, which has lowered the number of students requiring special education services.
Meadow Ridge, located at 8100 Courtland Dr., serves almost 600 students in early childhood special education through grade five.The school has been the site of the district’s Early Childhood Center since 2011. All Developmental Kindergarten students and Early Childhood Special Education students attend Meadow Ridge as part of the center.
“We want our parents involved to help it be successful,” said Shibler, who said a positive pilot would lead to expansion of the program.
Grand Rapids schools implemented PBIS district-wide a couple of years ago and officials say its been successful.