Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a behavior management system used by a school to understand challenging student behavior and encourage good behavior. One component of PBIS that our site uses is School-wide Information System (SWIS), as a tool to help collect, monitor and address specific behaviors on campus. Our expectations for PBIS at Casimir are for staff to model, encourage, and reward good student behavior. In the past, our schoolwide discipline focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior.
In light of current research that shows the implementation of punishment in the absence of positive strategies to be ineffective, Casimir decided to utilize PBIS to model and reinforce positive behavior to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them has shown to be a more positive and proactive approach than waiting for and reacting to misbehavior. We have further focused our attention on creating and sustaining Tier 1 supports (universal), Tier 2 supports (targeted group), and Tier 3 supports (individual) systems of supports to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students, including those with disabilities and from underrepresented groups.
PBIS aligns with goal four of our district Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) which states: Provide a school environment which establishes physical safety, cultivates emotional security, and facilitates responsible decision making where students feel connected and engaged in school. Our district supports the vision and implementation of PBIS at Casimir by providing training for school teams, release time for collaboration and planning as needed, and allocation for SWIS licensing.
Implementation and Monitoring
The implementation of Casimir’s model program of PBIS for behavior support requires a major shift in the thinking and habits of teachers. It calls into question fundamental assumptions and asks teachers to embrace new ways of approaching teaching, including a push for integrating a new vernacular, wherein positive comments and reinforcements far outweigh the negative. This 5:1 ratio concept is just one of the many PBIS strategies helping Casimir to foster a climate of positivity where teachers look for and reward excellent student behavior. In regards to challenging student behaviors, teachers receive support from the PBIS staff and administration in conversations with students. Though the transition has presented challenges, teachers have experienced the positive impact of PBIS on student behavior. The ongoing process of change is supported by professional development, fiscal resources, a commitment from leadership, and the support of the Casimir community. Through the implementation process, the need for ongoing support has been recognized and supported by our district in terms of ongoing professional development for Administration, PBIS site coach, teacher, and counselor who receive training at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). The LACOE PBIS training program uses a Train-the-Trainer Model with districtwide systematic implementation to ensure a sustainable program.
Some of the ways that we encourage positive behavior is through celebrating student successes. Not only do we encourage academic success through our Student of the Month awards, but moreover, we recognize students for the integrity of their character through our Cougar Kindness Award. Our use of “Gotcha Tickets”-- which are awarded on a daily basis by staff members to students who perform positive acts that align to our Cougar Code (Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Successful), allow students to enter their tickets into various quarterly drawings. Casimir teachers thoughtfully create prize options such as field trips, pizza parties, cupcake baking, and teacher versus student sports games. This idea is so popular that some students have trouble deciding! Lastly, every Friday five students are publicly recognized during our morning announcements for positively displaying our Cougar Code on campus. The weekly winners receive a certificate, a prize from the cafeteria, and their names are prominently displayed on our bulletin board outside the main office. These Tier I PBIS supports instill a sense of pride in students and a love for their campus community.
Additionally, Casimir implements PBIS by partnering with parents to agree on school systems that can be easily transferred to the home setting. This family engagement also integrates family culture so that our systems and practices are equally accessible by all of our students. Thus, when engaging families in the development of PBIS behavior supports, explicit discussions focus on family culture, values, and expectations so that these components can be integrated in the support program. Our idea of a shared positive behavior support does not mean changing the child; rather, it means creating a plan that determines who will help and what we will do differently. We communicate regularly with parents by phone, electronic mail, and staff conferences to monitor and revise behavior support plans as needed.
Results and Outcomes
Although the PBIS program at Casimir has only been in full implementation for a few years, the initial results regarding student behavior is promising. Our results are clearly illustrating a positive trend, and we will continue to monitor and adjust to maintain and improve upon success. For the past three years implementing our plan and focusing on our school values of connectedness and responsibility, we have been able to measure our success through quantitative and qualitative data. Most notably, we have the lowest suspension rate in the district for the past two years with only 16 in 2016-2017, and remarkably, only 11 in 2017-2018. Additionally, we continue to collect data on all aspects of student behavior, focusing on how our shared values are manifested in classrooms and throughout our campus.
From the program’s inception, there has been promising data. In the 2016/2017 school year we had 684 students and 522 of them did not receive a single behavioral referral. The following year, in 2017/2018, we had 675 students and 569 of them did not receive a behavioral referral. This shows us that our TIER I supports are working for the majority of our students.
In the 2017/2018 school year we went one step further with our analysis and made a specific plan to target students with the most referrals and address the issue in a multifaceted approach. From the list of students that received referrals, we identified 13 students (accounting for 15% of all referrals) as candidates for our PBIS Tier II program. Then, we started our specialized Tier II program in the 2018/2019 school year. Utilizing a teacher as our PBIS coach, we designated her tutorial as our targeted TIER II class for the 13 students. Sticking with the positive nature of PBIS, she aptly named this class iSUCCEED. This group meets as class during Tutorial time so that the class can maintain fluidity and students know that there is a way to exit the class. It is in this class where students create goals, discuss behavior and recent referrals, check academic grades, work on missing assignments or software programs with specific Math (IXL) or English (Achieve 3000), and counseling check-ins if needed. As the goals of iSUCCEED is to reduce the number of campus referrals through the PBIS continuum, weekly and monthly incentives are established. These include both computer time and an iSUCCEED favorite, field trips to our feeder elementary school to work with kindergarten kids. We found that these students (who originally received the most referrals in the school) thrive under the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills in a positive way to younger children. According to one student in the program, “Even though it’s just art or playtime, the little kids love it when we come and they appreciate it. I feel like I’m doing something good.” This personal testimony along with the data clearly demonstrate that this positive approach is working. What we are seeing is a decrease in the number of students receiving referrals campus-wide, as well as a decrease in the number of Tier II students receiving the most referrals. This tells us that our staff has embraced PBIS and our students are rising to the Cougar Code.
We passionately believe that our students can be successful in all aspects of their day, and the PBIS program has given us more opportunities to champion those successes, both great and small. In turn, our campus community has flourished as students have grown in the confidence that they can make good choices. We proudly roar for our students as they continue demonstrating, on a daily basis, that they are respectful, responsible, safe, successful!