In South Carolina, school districts are seeing a positive indication that rewarding positive behavior leads to higher graduation rates.
The practice known as Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, or PBIS, was begun in Spartanburg schools in 2013. Today, the graduation rate is at 89.9% and has been steadily rising over the past few years.
PBIS will be implemented in every Rock Hill school. According to Nancy Turner, director of exceptional education for the Rock Hill school district, PBIS brings consistency to the methods schools use for positive behavior reinforcement. Each staff member and administrator follows specific expectation and language. The consistency and expectation are tailored to the needs of students and staff.
Schools do not just look at the number of suspensions, but also at the types of behaviors and where those incidents occur. “They are digging down deep to see what type of infraction (it was), where did it happen, what time of day did it happen and what can we as a school do about it,” Turner said.
Historically, Rock Hill has approached misbehavior with punishment. PBIS emphasizes understanding the approaches in a given situation and the use of consistent and positive language.
“When there has to be some (punitive consequences), there has to be some,” Turner said. “But it should be very few. Now it’s understood that we look at interventions and strategies, and a positive approach not only for the students but for the staff. There are consistent procedures everyone should follow and the language should be in a very positive manner.”