PBIS: The Perfect Fit for Behavior Intervention in a PLC
Two years ago, our school decided to implement PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). We felt that we had a good handle on the academic side of the PLC, but something was missing. After studying this management system, it was clear to us that PBIS fit very well into the PLC model.
The three critical questions we always ask in a PLC are:
- What do students need to know and be able to do?
- How will we know if they have learned it?
- What will we do if they haven’t learned it?
So, the first thing we asked ourselves is will these questions work with PBIS? And the clear answer was yes indeed. But, how do these questions apply to behavior?
First: What do we want our students to know and be able to do when it comes to behavior? The staff decided on the behaviors that we wanted our students to know and demonstrate. We also decided on the places where we wanted to monitor student behavior. We chose the hallway, bathroom, classroom, lunchroom, bus, and playground. Then we decided on specific behaviors we wanted students to demonstrate in each of those areas. We also agreed on our Behavioral Expectations, which are:
- Be a Learner
- Exercise Safety
- Act Responsibly
- Respect Yourself and Others
Clever, since we are the Bears and the first letter of each expectation put together spells BEAR!
As in a PLC, it is important to also let students know what they are expected to know and do. So the matrix was presented to all the classes. I think the most important part of helping students understand the matrix was to have our Procedure Day. During this time, each grade level went to each of the areas on the matrix, and the behaviors were demonstrated by staff or, in some cases, older students. Then the class practiced the behavior. There was no doubt by the end of Procedure Day as to the expectation at each station.
It was also important to have common language throughout the school. We decided that a straight line in the hall would be called a “show line.” So when students hear “show line” from any staff member, they immediately line up in a straight line, voices off and hands to their side. It is just beautiful to hear and watch how students respond.
The second question, “How will we know if they know it?” is easy to manage. We look at our office referrals, which are almost none, and we look at the number of students missing recess due to inappropriate behavior. So, just as in a PLC and looking at data, we have our behavioral data that we can look at to see how students are responding and make adjustments as needed.
The third question, “What do we do if they don’t know it?” is also part of our plan. If a student has a repeated behavior that he or she is having difficulty with, we reteach the behavior to the student. It is part of the intervention, just like an academic intervention. It works beautifully, and we do not assume students know how to behave. We actually teach them the behavior we want them to demonstrate.
Celebrations are an important part of any PLC. In our school, we have Bear Bucks. Students earn Bear Bucks as they demonstrate the positive behaviors in each of the areas mentioned earlier. Individuals can earn them, and they can also be earned by an entire class. A menu of rewards is presented to the students, so as goals are being met, they can turn their Bear Bucks in for a reward. Classroom celebrations are also held.
Our school has truly been transformed. Now our students learn academics as well as behaviors, and in the end, we have a school culture that is positive, relationships are key, and our students are spending more quality time learning in a positive learning environment.