Happy December! As we move through December and into January, it is a great time to stop and review how your PBIS leadership team is doing and if the action plan is still on track to meeting outcomes. I like the months of January and February in Minnesota for reflection. It’s too cold to make me want to go outside, so I stay in, review data, read, and do some research. It’s a great time to check that your team is working smarter not harder. Use this winter time to reconnect, reflect, and renew your commitment to PBIS, even if you are in sunny Florida.

The 4 Elements of PBIS

When a school has decided to implement the PBIS framework, there are 4 elements that guide the work of your PBIS leadership team. The 4 Elements are:

Systems:  Supporting Staff behavior

  1. Teachers and staff are dealing with behavioral disruptions in a proactive way
  2. Celebrating students’ successes as they learn the school routines
  3. Supporting and sustaining new teacher and staff behavior
  4. A school-wide plan is in place for behavioral expectations

Practices:  Support students in learning new behaviors

  1. Students know and do the routines of the school
  2. When students don’t know the routine, staff have a plan to teach and reinforce the routine or expectation.
  3. Practices are in place to prevent disruptive behavior
  4. When Tier 1 is solidly in place, strategies for behaviors in Tiers 2 and 3 are implemented

Data: For decision making

  1. Data are kept in up-to-date and can be accessed quickly by the leadership team
  2. Include academic achievement with office discipline referrals to monitor progress toward achieving your school’s outcomes.
  3. Don’t forget to look at data for those behaviors that fall into Tier 2 and 3 interventions

Outcomes: This should be tied to the school improvement plan

  1. Implementation of the PBIS framework should be improving classroom engagement school-wide, and academic success
  2. Look at improving the culture, safety and climate school-wide

Implementing strategies and processes for all of the elements ensures a strong PBIS program at your school. The systems, practices and data are legs of a tripod, holding up your outcomes. Using only two, the desired outcomes will not be achieved. And, schools can’t just have outcomes without a strong plan to get there. Saying something like, “Our goal is to reduce office discipline referrals by 15%” sounds good, but without the legs of the tripod to support it, the goal will not be achieved.

Questions to Reconnect Your Leadership Team

Char and I recently talked with a school district that was concerned about PBIS drifting away at some of their schools. They were trained in PBIS years ago, and in that time, staff has turned over and they have drifted from the PBIS framework. The district was interested in rebooting a few schools. Char came up with a few questions to ask the school. I thought these might be helpful for your school to ask the same questions to make sure everything is on target.

  1. Has your school received sustainability training? This training refocuses on the original goals of PBIS and why it was implemented in the first place. Check with your local PBIS training centers about sustainability training.
  2. Is the PBIS functioning as a team? Are the norms being adhered to, or is it time to revise them.
  3. What kind of data systems are you using? Is the collected information data the team actually needs and uses? It is easy to get into data overload – collecting data for the sake of data, but it isn’t helpful to answering questions or achieving outcomes.
  4. Is your current action plan helping your school move forward? If you need a reboot, then reboot, or maybe start fresh from scratch. Renew your commitment to the PBIS framework

Reconnect with your team, with your vision, with your PBIS practice. Have honest discussions at your PBIS leadership team meetings and gather input from other members. Decide what works, what needs to be tweaked, what needs to go. And don’t forget to honor your hard work and take the time to celebrate your successes — you deserve it.


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