Here it is mid August and everyone is enjoying the remaining days of summer before the new school year begins. Some of you may already be in workshops or offering workshops at your school.
We wanted to offer some tips for a great start to the school year with PBIS. These suggestions apply regardless of how long you have been at it.
First, take a few minutes to recognize what you are grateful for this summer. Make a list of 2 or 3 things or more that you cherish and that have made your summer meaningful. They need not be great adventures though those experiences are memorable, but maybe it’s time with your family that you don’t easily have, time with special friends, time outside, sleeping in, reading for fun, walking, biking or whatever keeps you moving. Maybe you accomplished something this summer that you have really wanted to do. It’s very personal to you.
With respect to your school and PBIS, think about where you were a year ago at this time and at various points during the year. Find the things that stand out for you and your school. What will you do differently this year. What would you like to see your school accomplish. What are you most looking forward to doing during this new year. What is your team’s vision?
There are several really important planning tasks for you and your school team. Collectively they have to do with buy-in and commitment, evaluation and implementation.
Begin the year with kick-off and orientation events to help everyone; all adults and students get on the same page with PBIS. Name and re-teach your school-wide expectations. Plan special sessions and strategies for new, incoming students and for all new staff, substitutes, guest teachers, etc. Review the expectations for student as well as adult behavior. Make it fun, celebratory and informative. It’s about starting out with everyone on the same page. Acknowledge the accomplishments from the previous year and celebrate.
Present the summaries of student behavior through the use of Office Discipline Data (ODR). What was the status at the end of last year? What are the goals for the current year? Have rich discussion about the status of student behavior and the priorities.
Review your evaluation data from the end of last school year. Report to your staff where you school is in terms of implementation of the 8 key features. Are they all in place? Use your data from the School wide Assessment Survey (SAS), the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI), School-wide evaluation Tool (SET) or Benchmarks of quality (BOQ). Student behavior changes are correlated with implementation fidelity. Remember that all the posters, t-shirts, videos, award etc. are really positive artifacts but the heart of PBIS rests on solid data substantiating full implementation.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the adventure
The new school year can be really hectic. The better your planning and preparation, the better the beginning. We have worked with schools with high-risk populations who have worked hard on the front end and had the best start in memory. The investment is more than worth it.by