Duane Graber

Duane Graber is an elementary counselor at Briarcliff Elementary School, a professional learning community in the North Kansas City School District in Kansas City, Missouri.

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:

  1. What do students need to know and be able to do?
  2. How will we know if they have learned it?
  3. 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:

  1. Be a Learner
  2. Exercise Safety
  3. Act Responsibly
  4. Respect Yourself and Others

Clever, since we are the Bears and the first letter of each expectation put together spells BEAR!

We completed our matrix, and it looks like this:

Only one behavior is listed due to space. Each expectation has two or three behaviors listed.

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.

Comments

teach0514

My school three years ago implemented PBIS through a grant we received. Our school wide expectations were Be Safe, Be Kind, Be a Team Player. We give a matrix to our parents before the start of school. We also complete PKBS reports at the beginning, and again at the end of the year to determine if our challenging behaviors have decreased. So far, it has been successful. I like the idea of incentives,and will bring that up to my director. What we did this year I would like to share with you is that we put our expectations in a book for the students to look at. We took pictures of the students following the rules and made a book on shutterfly. We put a book in each of our classrooms for the teachers to use if needed, and for the students to look at during their free time. It is a great visual reminder of what we expect our children to do.

Posted on

salillie

This system sound a lot like what we incorporated at the end of our school year (last year) and we plan to continue implementing this year. It is inspiring to see a success story!

Posted on

Buddy

thank you for this post. We are beginning the first phase of PBIS this year and am encouraged by all the posts and feedback. I have a specialists who will be working on the committee work. I plan to show her this blog.
~Melanie

Posted on

scorwin

I am returning to the classroom after four years of coaching instruction. My school, along with many others in the district is embarking on PBIS this year. I have worked at two schools that have been PBIS also, but neither was as successful as was described above. I think that much of it had to do with staff not being a community. By reading your post, I was encouraged to see this model working successfully and tying in well with the PLC. The three questions that you posed are three that I am taking to my meeting tomorrow with my leadership team to help keep us focused. Thank you for your post.

Posted on

dcgraber

Please let me know if you would like someone to come and work with your staff. I would be delighted to come and walk you through the process.

Posted on

dcgraber

Great! keep up the good work. Students love to be praised.
We all do.

Posted on

iTeachkids

I am also a student at Walden University and I just completed my first year of teaching. I told myself that I was going to spend this whole summer researching behavior intervention plans because this past year that was something that I struggled with and next year I want to go in the classroom stronger. I teach prek and alot of my students have never been away from home or even a daycare before they come to my class so there behavior is out of controll because they do not know how to act. I have never hear of PBIS and this is not something that is implemented at my school or the county I am in. I would love to share this information with my school at our next PLC. I believe this will be a great assest. If we start young than it will always be with the students in their upcoming years. Thank You for a great informational post.

Posted on

Franciie

I just finished my first year in a school with PBIS. We use ROAR as our acronym and our students earn "Tiger Bucks." We have data emailed out monthly about the number of referrals on the bus or within the school. I have seen how low the numbers are compared to the numbers from the year before (also in the email). It seems like the number of referrals are steadily decreasing over the years.
I love being able to catch students doing what they are supposed to do and being able to give them a Tiger Buck. The school provides a schedule of awards based on the number of bucks earned. PBIS is a county wide initiative with a person at the board who is in charge of making sure it is followed through and successful in each school. It surely seems to be working.

Posted on

jbukovatz

I work in and RTI (response to intervention) school that focuses on creating pathways for students to follow to succeed, and new tracks for students to follw who are struggling. We use these pathway charts to guide our academic decidions at our school in order to get all of our students to a benchmark level. Your behvior chart is very similar to our academic pathway and would be a great thing for my school to adap and make into a behavior pathway. We are looking to use the RTI model to rebuild our current behvior policy and you have provided some fabulous ideas! Thanks!

Posted on

laruez

I just have to comment that I teach high school Georgia and our motto is also to be Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to learn. We implemented PBIS 2 years ago, and I know our PBIS team had done a lot of research, they must have looked at your school! We are the Raiders and use Raider Bucks, and we even have teacher bucks for faculty who are ready and responsible. As many have mentioned we have rubrics posted around the school of what behaviors should look like and students who are repeat offenders of not meeting behavior expectations get to participate in the PBIS club during club time to relearn behavior strategies. School wide we teach behavior strategies during our weekly advisement sessions. PBIS has been very effective at improving student behavior. At our faculty meetings each month we look at the data of how many referrals are occuring, what the infractions are, and what time of day they are happening. we also compare this data to the previous years' and our number of referrals have dropped drastically.

Posted on

ptnkln

Reading Games For 2Nd Grade - The beginning reading program, ClickN READ Phonics, is regarded as cutting edge and the first of its kind by the academic community.

Posted on

gtogawa

I feel a positive behavior is so important to the character of the school. Our elementary school uses a PBIS model along with the character counts program that instills seven pillars of exemplary character. Students are recognized by class at a monthly assembly for displaying the pillars as chosen by the teachers. In addition we have school money that is handed out. When students accumulate enough school money they get to pick something out of the school's toy chest and are recognized at the assembly. Although nothing is perfect, our school tries to actively engage in promoting positive behavior!

Posted on

littlel

This year was our first year implementing PBIS in our district. I did not nor did our district ever link the goals of PLCs to the PBIS. I am so glad that I read this post because it has allowed me to see PBIS in a different manner. It is something that aligns directly with PLCs and if we as a building would have introduced it this it may have gone over better and maybe met with less resistance. The idea of creating a common language within PBIS is also essential just as in the PLC process. We did not create this and if we did with students and teacher a like we may have been more successful in our first year. As I read the other comments I noticed PBIS seems to work better in elementary schools. I would love to hear more about how PBIS is implemented successfully in a high school especially when students have not been brought up with PBIS in middle or elementary school.

Posted on

dcgraber

And hopefully it will become a school-wide initiative. That is the best way for it to work. The language needs to be the same school-wide. We have a phrase "Show Line" for students. When students are passing in the hall, any teacher can say "Show Line" and the students know this means straight line, hands to self, voices off. Classes can earn Bears for demonstrating a Show Line. So, it really is important that PBIS is implemented school-wide.

Posted on

dcgraber

Good to hear! If you decide to have someone come and work with your staff just let me know and we can make that happen.

Posted on

dcgraber

Great to hear! The important thing is to keep it in front of your staff so that it doesn't become just another fizzling program. The lessons are important and are a great reminder for teachers as well as students. We also have a Procedure Day after long breaks in the school calendar where students rotate through the areas and refresh memories of what it should look like and sound like.

Posted on

mc3012

I enjoyed reading your post. I think our students would greatly benefit from a school wide behavior plan so I am sharing this blog with our leadership team. Your matrix is a good model to follow. Thanks!

Posted on

tpayne8239

I enjoyed reading this about handling behavior. I have been searching all year for what type of behavior plan to use and I have tried many, but this seems like it works very well. I am going to talk with our administrators about PBIS and see if we can start looking at it to implement next year in our school improvement plan.

Posted on

janell921

The school I work at also uses Positive Behavior Supports, and it works extremely well. We have a student specialist and it is his job to maintain the PBS data and work with students. I love have a uniform behavior system that is used throughout the building because it keeps everyone on the same page and using the same expectations. The students are drilled with our acronym STARS, which means: stay safe, try your best, act responsibly, remember self control, show respect. We go over the PBS data at our bi-weekly PLC meetings and there has been a huge improvement in behavior and grades of the students.

Posted on

mjsem

I enjoyed reading this blog about behavior intervention. In this day an age, it is never safe to assume that children know right from wrong or how to properly act and what is expected from each individual. As educators, we do not just educate on certain disciplines, but on life. I think it is great having a behavior intervention and for it to be followed throughout the whole school.

Posted on

tsb80

I used to work at a school right outside of D.C. that had the same motto. This is really strange, but do you happen to work at Cannon Road?

Posted on

Nadz

I have never seen this model before, it reminds somewhat of the KWL strategy used predominantly in reading.

I am going to review it some more and discuss the idea of adaptation with my collaborative peers. I think it will be a turning point in our school.

Posted on

CSABALY24

The core to a successful and solid education is through how the students’ behave in the school. At this moment, my school suffers from several challenging behavior students. This year we are working on implementing PBIS and this was an excellent blog for me to read because the ideas and strategies will be very useful and productive. I will defiantly share this blog with the PBIS team in my school. I love the idea of “procedure day” because what better way for the students and teachers to understand PBIS is through trial and error. Through this trail and error it show what will work for the school and what we not work for the school. Also implementing a behavior plan school wide it is imperative that everyone has a “common language” but the language must be simple and understandable for everyone involved. Overall, this blog was very insightful and very informative.

Posted on

Landrighetti

PBIS is used at my school as well. I teach outside of D.C. and am also a Graduate student at Walden University! Our motto for PBIS is "The 3 R's - Be Responsible, Respectful, and Ready to Learn" . Our kids recite the 3 R's each morning in a PBIS Pledge. We also have matrixes for the different areas in our schoolhouse. We use Tickets and a 'School Store' as daily rewards. At the end of each quarter we have a big event to celebrate all of those students who exemplified the 3 R's. I really do enjoy the PBIS system and am tickled to know other states/communities use it as well!

Posted on

Awil

I really enjoyed reading this blog. I am a speech therapist at my schools and hear teachers complain about student behavior. I will be sure to present the ideas to my colleagues so they may implement them into their daily routines with their students. Hopefully, this will lead to collaboration among the teachers to discuss what works or doesn't work.

Posted on

Kmajors

Thank you for sharing this outstanding behavioral management technique. I am a student at Walden University, and this is where I learned about the importance of PLC, and now PBIS. Now I understand why it is important for teachers to collaborate and share strategies. The PLC collaborated with PBIS is a excellent tool to help students know what is appropriate behavior. I agreed with you when you said that students are not born knowing how to behave, but they have to be taught. Your matrix was well planned and well thought out. It was clear and concise. It is amazing when teachers can come together and work positively to reach a common goal- no one is left out of the picture. So if one teacher is weak in behavioral management, she has a whole team to back her up. I have been teaching in different schools for ten years and I have never seen anything like this. This, indeed, is something I will share with teachers who are struggling in behavioral management.
Thank you for sharing!

Posted on

tbru

I really love the PBIS, I think that I would be a real asset to any school district! I am going to bring this strategy up in our next PLC.

Posted on

mreilly

My school also does PBIS, but our matrix uses the "3 B's", Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be a Role Model. Every year we have designated times to perform lessons in different areas of our school to model the behaviors appropriate for completion of the 3 B's in every setting. Students are rewarded daily in individual classrooms and weekly as a whole school community. It is the first time I have worked with PBIS and, thus far, it seems to work pretty well.

Posted on

chopkins

Behavior has been a huge issue in our school. We are improving this year, as our new PLC meets on a regular bases to implemet new stratigies and improve strategies that are already in place. I like the behavioral expectation system you have implimented in your school. I agree that it is important that the intervention is inforced throughout the school. I would like to know what are the consequences for not abiding by matrix, if the missing of recess doesn't work.

Posted on

Brian

We also have a PBIS program in place at our school. I feel it is very effective due to the hard work of our PBIS committee. Our elementary school uses a similar approach that many of you have shared in using tickets to reward positive behaviors outlined by the current PBIS goal. Our goals are school wide and the entire staff carries these tickets with them throughout the day. Recognition from adults other than their own teachers really seems to make a difference. The reinforcement gives a feeling of solidarity and the students take a great deal of pride from the positive reinforcement. In our class, my co-teacher and I often reward the students who are recognized by other teachers and staff members with our own classroom tickets as well.

I really like the matrix you provided. Our school uses the acronym "SHINES", and we have it posted around the school. The matrix idea further reinforces the expectations. Creating something like this would be a great way of including the students in the expectations. Thank you for the great idea!

Posted on

Janice0805

My school has a PBIS program in place. I am apart of the PBIS committee and as a team we regularly make tweaks to the program to make it better. Along with what other people were saying we have incentives in place, "owlbucks," that the students recieve when they demonstrated the behaviors required of them. The students also recieve a marble in a jar, as a class, for following the proper behavior. We have been using the data between behavior and academics to see if there are any gains academically when the students are demonstrating these behaviors. This has been a constant PLC topic. The only issue that I find, and maybe someone has some insight, is that when a student demonstrates a behavior that warrents a write up, the administration does not follow through with disipline. This is giving some of the students the thought that even if they demonstrate the behaviors, nothing will done. I have a couple students in my class that have this particular thought process and it doesn't affect them when they lose preferred activities. I think the PBIS program is a great incentive for students work towards the behavior that is important.

Posted on

scitea09

My school has a PBIS program in place. We have been tweaking it regularly to make it a better fit. Like you we track our matrix monthly and post and announce our results during our morning televised announcements. The dances and activities are popular. Our biggest problem to date is still fighting. I teach in a middle school (7th & 8th graders) and while we have good measures in place we still have a population of students that refuse to be "incentived". The majority of the student body have responded to the rewards/incentives. I just wish we could have a higher percentage of students buy into the program. Maybe its the middle school mentality - they know theyre not babies anymore and they are trying to find their place in the environment.

Posted on

jmgw380

I found this behavior plan very informative. My school has similar methods but I felt your PBIS system was clearer in its expectations of the students than our plan. I loved the matrix concept. I felt it clearly stated the expectations of the students and kept everyone accountable. This is something I am planning on bringing up at our next school meeting.

My school has a similar method in rewarding the students. We are the leopards, so we give out paw prints. This is a school wide reward system where at the end of the week, the students names are drawn out of an envelope and receive a prize.

Posted on

caldwea

We do not really tie in PBIS with our discussions during PLC. That is a great idea that I would like to bring before our team. Thank you for sharing. At our PLC's we discuss where are kids are individually and what we are doing for them. We not only speak of our Kindergarteners, but the school as a whole. We disaggregate 3-5 assessment data and see what can be done across grade levels to benefit the children in years to come to ensure there aren’t as many gaps.
We also participate in relevant book studies, where we implement bits and pieces to meet the needs of our students as well as improve on our abilities. It is nice to meet with teachers across grade levels to see how we are implementing similar strategies, but differentiated. I love how ours are completely teacher led and our facilitators and admin participate in discussions. We have seen tremendous growth using this mindset.

Posted on

Kris

The best idea about this plan is having everyone on the same page and making sure that all expectations are clear. I like the scientific way that testing the matrix was conducted also, and that there is already actions in place when things don't work out the first time. The school I am possibly going back to next year has disipline problems and from what I hear of old co-workers, it has only gotten worse. I never have disipline problems in the classroom because the kids know what is expected of them and the consequences are clear. However school wide this is not the case and I strongly believe that this type of plan, if stuck with and given time, would really help with behaviors.
The only issue I see with this plan is what is the next step after reteaching the expectation, there are many students that will go well beyond the reteaching level in my district. However all in all this is a great way to creating more than a behavior plan, it also helps the entire school feel like a community.

Posted on

TriciaKelsey

My school also has the PBIS, however, I don't feel it is as effective as it should be. There are some benefits such as allowing students to go to the snack bar (the school is grades 9-12). I like the creativity of the PBIS you have outlined in this article along with the reward system that has been put in place with the bear bucks.

I agree with tsb80 that behavior management is hard to tackle. All teachers need to be able to conform with the PBIS that has been placed. Being in a high school setting has it's difficulties with attempting to manage a classroom but also feel there should be a set of guidelines teachers can all have in their classrooms that are the same.

I enjoyed reading your layout of the matrix. It gives precise guidelines students must follow and easy to read. I also agree with lcraven that behavior and learning go hand and hand. Reteaching is important because it lets the students know this is what is expected and this is how it should be.

Posted on

jschwo2006

My school has a PBIS system in place but I feel that it is not as clear-cut and effective as the one mentioned above. I think this is a great idea and would be most helpful for putting around the school for students to have a better idea on how to earn an extrinsic reward. Also, I am impressed with the breakdown and clarification on expected actions in different environments within the school. I too agree with lcraven, learning and behavior do go hand in hand.

Posted on

tsb80

Behavior management is very difficult to tackle. What I find to be different among teachers is tolerance. One teacher may be able to handle a behavior with redirection, where another teacher may send a student to the office for the same misbehavior. What I love about the PBIS program is that everyone has the same general guidelines and can still maintain their own expectations. If possible I would suggest asking your principal if your school can become a PBIS school, it truly does make a difference on behaviors.

Posted on

lcraven

My school also had PBS a school wide behavior plan that awarded students for positive behavior. The students were able to earn weekly points and then shop at the PBS store.I feel that most teachers participated and we had a great outcome. I feel like our school discipline plan worked because many if not most followed the guidelines. I also think behavior and learning go hand in hand.

Posted on

ZainaM

As someone who is new to various frameworks and concepts behind a PLC, I am impressed with your school's collaborative effort to define behavioral expectations, and to implement this program.

I currently work in a school where, due to a variety of reasons, teachers are primarily expected to work in their classrooms, with their own children, in a variety of ways. While teachers do form bonds and utilize each other as resources, it is, on the whole, a lonely version of teaching.

One of the areas that I find the school struggles with the most is discipline. Teachers have a variety of expectations for student behavior around the school, but, without consistency, students never know what way to act. This, I attribute, primarily to a lack of education on proper behavior expected of them in the school.

I love your matrix because, while I have created similar guidelines for individual students, I never thought to create such detailed expectations for my class and, in an ideal world, for my school as a whole. Therefore, I look forward to introducing a plan such as this as a sort of grassroots effort- working first for consistency in my classroom, then across the classrooms on my floor, moving across my grade level, and, hopefully with the support of my administration, throughout the school. I hope to inspire my colleagues to grapple with PLCs and the impact that they could have both on our teaching community, and on our student community.

Posted on

shawel05

I can see you and your school do great work around PLC ideas. I like the fact that your Behavior Intervention strategy revolves around an acronym that students can easily recall upon and recite. The school I work at adopted a similar strategy that encompasses not only a behavior intervention but also a way for children to learn what it means to be a student. We chose a statement "PRIDE in our learning and POWER in our actions". Each letter in PRIDE and POWER reflects what the common expectations are at our school.

I have found that when teaching each of our expectations, a "looks like & sounds like" model is very beneficial to help students understand what exactly it means. I like the fact that your matrix for BEAR clearly lays out what each behavior is for different locations around school. I would recommend that the matrix also focuses on a "looks like & sounds like" model.

I am happy to hear that your school culture has been changed for the better. Continue the good work.

Posted on

edwina.jones

I too am inspired by your collaboration of PLC with PBIS. Because you have established a successful PLC, all teachers are aware of the goals of PBIS and everyone can participate in it. For example, if another teacher sees a class in the hallway, that teacher can comment on the implementation of PBIS.

My school follows the PBIS behavior plan as well. One of the incentives we use to motivate our students are "dolphin dollars". Our mascot is the dolphin. Each teacher can hand out dolphin dollars to any student in the school who displays positive behavior of PBIS. Students collect dollars throughout the week and on Friday, hand them in for prizes.

The idea was very effective at the beginning of the year however, as the year is drawing to an end, teachers have become more focused on completing the school year and the PBIS model has dwindled, along with our PLC. How can we prevent this from happening each year?

Posted on

Rebecca

I'm inspired by your post and how your school is implementing PBIS in conjunction with PLCs. Our school has a good handle on PLCs, examining data, increasing test scores, etc., but we are lacking in the focus on the students' behaviors. Your model for positive interventions could easily be adapted to our middle school and I also appreciate how you can create one for your classroom as well.

Many times, negative behaviors are followed by negative consequences. While this is sometimes unavoidable, it is much more useful to reward the positive behaviors and to create a better school climate. I like that your school decided to have a common language. This avoids confusion and provides consistency. Having this matrix posted is a great reminder of the expectations that were set, for both teachers AND students.

Thank you for sharing! I am eager to start working on something like this for our school!

Posted on

Jeneva Robinson

Behavior and learning go hand-in-hand. Your schools PBIS shows commitment and enthusiasm for student learning and behavior. I agree that we cannot assume that students know how to behave. Instead, as teaching professionals we must establish safety rules and procedures for students to follow.

Your perception on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a creative and strategic for schools to operate smoothly. I agree that we cannot assume that students know how to behave. This would be detrimental to the PLC. Instead, as teaching professionals we must establish safety rules and procedures for each student to follow. I believe that it will keep students focused on learning, and deter unwanted behaviors.

Moreover, it is a joyous and satisfying reward for teachers when students can apply what they learn, and behave accordingly. I believe this practice will be a great invention for my school.

Posted on