by Harold Kitching
In times past, unruly or bullying students were paddled or made to sit outside the classroom door or sent to the principal’s office for discipline.
Those were actions that usually didn’t leave a lasting impression on the student.
The Florence Unified School District has had a program for the past three years that takes a gentler, more positive approach. It’s being used in several of the schools, with more to come.
The district’s website gives this description of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support effort:
“PBIS is a framework or approach for assisting schools in organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students. It IS NOT a packaged curriculum, scripted intervention or manualized strategy.”
It continues, “PBIS is a prevention-oriented way for schools to organize evidence-based practices, improve the implementation of those practices and maximize academic and social behavior outcomes for ALL students. PBIS practices include team-based leadership, data-based decision making, continuous monitoring of student behavior, regular universal screening and effective ongoing professional development.”
The website adds that the components essential for PBIS success are:
- Shared leadership
- Data-based problem solving and decision- making
- Continuum of student supports
- Evidence-based instruction, intervention and assessment
- Universal screening and progress monitoring.
- Family, school and community partnering
“This framework provides for a systemwide prevention-based framework for improving learning goals for every student,” the site says.
To put that into plain language, program coordinator Teresa Sharrow said it’s a matter of working directly with a student, learning the root of the problem, reinforcing positive behavior, keeping the student on track and rewarding him for his success.
It’s a three-tier effort, the district said.
In Tier I, all students are explicitly taught positive behavioral expectations. All teachers use a consistent approach to discipline.
Students who are in need of Tier II supports are provided with small group, targeted behavioral skill interventions that promote pro-social behaviors.
In Tier III, student-centered planning is used to develop customized interventions with frequent progress monitoring.
“Parents play a critical role in supporting what their children are learning in school,” the district said. “FUSD believes that the more parents are involved in student learning, the higher the student achievement.”
Learn how your school is implementing the program, read tips for parent involvement – both at school and at home – and see examples of questions to ask at http://www.fusdaz.com/mtss