A network to share best practices for children with special needs
As we continue our back-to-school series, one topic that always generates a buzz is school discipline. In the past, the typical method for handling discipline issues was to dole out punishment in the form of repetitive writing of the offense, loss of recess, in-school detention, etc.
These days, thanks in part to an RtI (Response to Intervention) initiative, many schools are now learning to re-frame the issue by focusing on prevention. PBIS or PBS, (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is a concept that uses evidence-based strategies to help schools decrease problem behaviors, increase academic performance, increase safety and establish a more positive school culture.
A wonderful example of the successful use of PBIS is at a middle school in Jonesboro, GA. Students at this school were taught the basic ground rules of respecting themselves and property, being responsible and prepared at all times and being ready to follow directions and procedures. A “gotcha” campaign was initiated where teachers name students who were seen doing good deeds (like picking up trash or helping a fellow student who dropped a lunchroom tray). The students who received “gotcha” notices are given recognition at the end of the month (lunch on stage with the assistant principal). Students, in turn, can also give teachers a "gotcha" notice. The winning teacher (announced at the end of the month), for example, gets to leave class early (assistant principal taking over the class) for one day. In the first year of implementation, discipline referrals were cut practically in half from 1,252 to 674! You can read more about this school's amazing program entitled, Doing It the Jonesboro Way. What is your school doing to support PBIS? Please share your story with us!