Why PBIS? (and what is it anyway?) Informational Video Transcript Hello and welcome to this informational video on the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, otherwise known as PBIS. This video aims to: Describe what PBIS is and why it is being implemented; and present a clear consistent message regarding Tier 1 implementation of PBIS in the Bakersfield City School District. Ensuring all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented behavioral practices and interventions is essential to improving student academic and behavioral outcomes. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, also referred to as PBIS, is a framework that promotes positive behavior with strategies that focus on all learners’ social emotional and behavioral needs in order to support academic success. More importantly, PBIS is not a curriculum, intervention, or practice, but is a decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence‐based practices for improving academic and behavior outcomes for all students. Aimed at supporting safe and effective school environments while preventing problem behaviors, PBIS was established by the University of Oregon in 1994 and has since grown from implementation at one middle school to more than 10,000 schools across the United States. Research supporting PBIS originally emerged from safe‐school studies and a field of psychology known as Applied Behavioral Analysis. Recently, the PBIS framework has been shown to align with other research‐based approaches such restorative practices and trauma informed care. Schools effectively implementing PBIS have shown a decrease in office discipline referrals and suspensions while seeing an increase in pro‐social behaviors, school climate, and academic outcomes. Technical assistance and guidance for implementation is readily available through universities and offices of education across the country. The discipline of students has always been a chief concern of staff in schools. As educators, we want to be able to teach and support all students so they may learn and thrive. We do not want students with problem behaviors to negatively impact our ability to teach and support other students. In addition, we want all students and staff to feel safe within the school environment. Traditional ways of disciplining students exhibiting problem behavior tend to be very reactive in nature and focus on short‐term solutions. These approaches often view student behavior as an issue of “will” rather than “skill”. As such, schools develop prohibitive rules on what not to do. Schools then focus efforts on maintaining control through steadily increasing aversive consequences for rule breaking. Students repeatedly unable to comply with rules are not tolerated and are then excluded from instruction through suspension or expulsion. In the
traditional approach little is done to prevent the occurrence of problem behaviors and teach what is appropriate. Research has shown that schools using traditional types of discipline continue to experience violence and destructive behaviors amongst students. This is because traditional approaches only work for 80 to 90 percent of students as a means of controlling problem behaviors. Traditional methods do not directly develop personal responsibility or teach lagging skills. Research supports that these methods have little effect on students with chronic behavior challenges. Over time, the use of traditional discipline methods and an overuse of suspension and expulsion has created, what research refers to, as a school‐to‐prison pipeline. Students, excluded from instruction, grow increasingly disenfranchised with school and eventually turn towards gangs, criminal activity, or a reliance on public welfare systems. In recognition of this research, federal and state governments have passed laws and provided guidance limiting the use of suspension and traditional punitive discipline approaches. For instance, California Education Code 48900.5 states that for certain behaviors “suspension shall be imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.” The most recent legal change impacting discipline in California is Assembly Bill 420, which banned the use of suspension in Kindergarten through 3rd grade for behavior considered to be willfully defiant or disruptive. As an alternative to the use of suspension, school districts have been encouraged to use alternative discipline approaches, such as the PBIS framework, to ensure positive reinforcement and school‐wide multi‐tiered supports. In order to achieve the goals of learning, discipline, and safety, BCSD is implementing the PBIS framework. So what is the PBIS Framework? In general, PBIS emphasizes four integrated elements: Data used to support decision making; measurable behavior and academic outcomes supported and evaluated by data; evidenced‐ based practices that support desired student behavior; and systems that efficiently and effectively ensure implementation of practices by school staff. These four elements are guided by important principles. First, we must develop a continuum of tiered interventions and supports for students. We must use data to make decisions and analyze problems. We must arrange school environments to prevent the development and occurrence of problem behavior. We must teach and encourage the social skills and behaviors we expect. We must implement evidence‐based behavioral practices with fidelity and accountability; and we must continually monitor our performance and progress. The PBIS continuum is divided into three tiers of support. Tier one includes systems and practices that apply to all students in all settings. These are intended to be preventative and proactive and focus on the explicit teaching and reinforcing of positive expectations.
Tier two includes targeted supports for students not responding to Tier one and displaying regularly occurring at‐risk behaviors. These interventions and supports, such as Check In/Check Out or Social Skills groups, are designed to be rapidly implemented for groups of students in need. These interventions are highly efficient and allow for some customization to fit the individual needs of the student. Tier three includes intensive support and interventions for students with high‐risk behaviors. These interventions and supports are individualized and should be developed by specialized school teams so as to meet the intensive and individual needs of the student. It is important to remind everyone that labeling a student as Tier 2 or Tier 3 is inappropriate. While a student may need a Tier 2 support in the area of social skills, the same student may have exemplary verbal, reading, math, art, or other skills. It is also important to note that a student needing support today, may not need the same level of support once they have received good instruction or intervention in their area of need. In summary, PBIS is a proactive approach to establishing the supports, social culture and environment needed to teach and reinforce expected behavior in all students. It is not a program, a curriculum, positive referrals, an abandonment of consequences, or a one size fits all approach. So what does Tier 1 of PBIS look like in BCSD? In BCSD Tier One of PBIS has the following 8 components: 1. Essential Component #1 is Leadership from a School PBIS Team. All schools are required to have a Tier 1 PBIS team. The role of the team is to guide the integration of PBIS within the school site culture, monitor school‐wide data, and to use data to build consensus with staff regarding refinement and implementation of practices and systems at the school site. Specifically, teams should: a. Ensure School‐wide PBIS systems are taught or reviewed with staff annually; b. Gain staff commitment at an 80% level of consensus regarding needed changes and a common philosophy of discipline; c. Review monthly discipline data and stakeholder feedback; d. Use data and feedback to analyze, adjust and refine school‐wide PBIS systems and practices; e. Develop plans to support implementation; f. Report out and celebrate data and plan progress to staff and stakeholders. 2. Essential component #2 is the Development of a Common Behavioral Belief and Purpose. Tier 1 PBIS teams should work with school staff to reach consensus on a common belief and purpose related to student behavior that aligns to the PBIS framework and demonstrates the staff’s commitment to positive behavior support.
3. Essential component #3 is creating Clear School‐wide Behavior Expectations and Rules. Due to mobility of students within BCSD, each school is required to have the same overarching universal behavior expectations: Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Cooperative, and Be Ready to Learn. While these are common amongst all schools, each school has the flexibility to define clear, positively stated rules representing what each universal behavior looks like in each setting at the school. Each school may personalize these rules providing the emphasis is on rules showing students what to do and what is expected. Schools create matrices which should be posted in every location around the campus. Posting expectations supports a structured, safe environment and also ensures staff may immediately refer to and teach the appropriate rules to students when they observe misbehavior. It is very important, as well, that classroom rules be aligned to school‐wide expectations and rules so as to provide consistency for students. 4. Essential Component #4 is the Explicit Teaching of School‐wide Behavior Expectations and Rules. Discipline is defined in the dictionary as “instruction that corrects molds or perfects character and develops self‐control”. When a student does not know how to read, we teach. When a student is struggling with math, we teach. Just like reading and math, students must be taught how we expect them to behave. Each PBIS team should develop the methods and procedures for how the school will teach expected behavior to students. Teaching should be explicit and contain opportunities for students to practice expected behavior and rules in the settings in which they are expected. To assist schools, the District has created the Stop, Think, and Act Right posters as a teaching tool within the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to train students to stop when they are experiencing a problem, and think about their options for behavior, and then choose the correct actions for the setting they are in. 5. Essential component #5 is the Encouragement of School‐wide Behavior Expectations. All students and adults desire to be acknowledged. All students and adults should interact positively with one another. This produces a positive environment for students, staff and parents. Research identifies that adults and students are more productive when there is at least a 4 to 1 positive to negative interaction ratio within the school. Positive interactions such as giving smiles, polite greetings, high fives, saying thank you, and ensuring fair treatment make people feel welcome and wanted. Without a culture of positive interactions with students as well as adults, a school is not implementing Tier 1 of PBIS with fidelity.
When students or adults display expected behavior, they should be acknowledged and encouraged with specific positive feedback so as to motivate them and create a positive school environment. When giving specific positive feedback a person: 1. Specifically describes the behavior observed; 2. Provides a rationale for why the behavior is important and its benefits; and 3. Provides encouragement to continue the behavior. This encouragement may be verbal only or involve a preferred activity or tangible item such as a reward ticket or positive referral. Not all students are reinforced the same way. PBIS teams should develop a menu of reinforcements for the school and determine which specific reinforcements will be recorded as positive referrals. The strategy of the Positive referral was created so that data could be collected on the effectiveness of certain types of positive reinforcement at a school site. PBIS teams are then able to determine which reinforcement methods are effective in addressing problem behaviors at the school. While every adult should strive to achieve a 4 to 1 positive interaction ratio with students, it is not intended that every positive interaction be entered as a positive referral. PBIS teams should be specific with school staff and reach consensus on which interactions and reinforcement teachers will record as positive referrals. Here is a student describing a positive referral at their school. (Student interview) 6. Essential Component #6 is the Discouragement of Inappropriate Behavior. PBIS teams should reach consensus with staff on which behaviors are classroom managed and which are office managed and require an office discipline referral. This should be clearly communicated to all staff via a flowchart or other document. Likewise, PBIS teams should decide on procedures for when a student chronically displaying a classroom managed behavior should be referred to the office for assistance. The PBIS framework relies on accurate and reliable office discipline referral data to understand the behaviors occurring across a school campus. An analysis of data allows a school team to identify problem areas, brainstorm interventions, decide where and what to teach, reward students exhibiting the expected behavior, and communicate information to staff, students, and families. Without this valuable data, school PBIS teams will not be able to refine practices and systems that address problem behavior. Once a student is referred to the office, administrators are responsible for applying appropriate consequences. Administrators are expected to follow the guidance
provided in the document BCSD Student Discipline Code: A Guide for Administrators. This document is available on the Instructional Support Services website. The guide contains student problem behaviors and appropriate responses as allowed under Education Code, including the offenses for which a student may be suspended or expelled. Students receiving an office discipline referral should always receive an appropriate consequence and also a form of intervention designed to support the student and reduce future occurrences of the behavior. School PBIS teams should regularly review the effectiveness of consequences and refine them as necessary with the school administration. The Department of Student Services is always available for clarifications or questions regarding the student discipline code, law related to school discipline, or appropriate consequences in any given student matter. 7. Essential Component #7 is Ongoing Monitoring. Both the school and the District Office must commit to regular monitoring of data in order to improve practices and systems of PBIS. Data sources should include office discipline referrals, positive referrals, suspensions and expulsions, attendance, student, staff, and parent feedback, plan implementation, and PBIS fidelity monitoring tools such as the School‐wide Evaluation Tool, otherwise known as the SET. Without data to analyze and make decisions from, a school or district would not be following the PBIS framework. 8. Lastly, Essential Component #8 is Effective Classroom Practices. Effective classroom practices such as active supervision, using varied student engagement strategies, having clear, organized routines and procedures, delivery of logical consequences to students, and other strategies are key to creating a proactive environment that discourages negative behavior and encourages desired behavior. In summary, PBIS is a proactive approach to establishing the supports, social culture and environment needed to teach and reinforce expected behavior in all students. It is not a program, a curriculum, positive referrals, an abandonment of consequences, or a one size fits all approach. Here are some common questions we have received regarding BCSD’s implementation of PBIS that merit clarification. Isn’t this PBIS thing just one more, one size fits all gimmick that won’t work? The principals and District need to stop making all the decisions for us. Well, PBIS is a framework based on safe school research and the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. While the District requires that common components be in place, PBIS teams are given a tremendous amount of autonomy in determining implementation. This aligns with the concepts of tight and loose that are a part of being a Professional Learning Community.
I heard that we have to treat students differently when they misbehave because of disproportionality between ethnic groups. So certain groups can’t be suspended. Is this true? No. Disproportionality in student discipline practices are examined as they may indicate disparate treatment and possible discrimination. Office referrals should be given based on the behavior observed and whether it is office managed or classroom managed. Suspensions are given based on Education Code and whether another means of correction is feasible. This applies to all students regardless of ethnicity. I am worried the District or my principal will punish me or the school if we write too many referrals. How many is too many? Office Discipline Referrals are written for documentation and because office managed behavior has occurred. Office Discipline Referrals are data that helps PBIS teams and administrator make decisions on how to support staff and students. Data showing one teacher writing significantly more ODRs than another is a good indicator that the teacher needs support from administration, possibly with strategies to support certain students or to improve their classroom management. I enter referrals but the computer says they are pending. Sometimes I notice a referral has been deleted. Aren’t I supposed to find out what happened? Yes, communication should occur between the administration and staff who wrote a referral so they know the result. An administrator should respond to an ODR as soon as possible. ODRs are student records. Students are entitled to due process with respect to discipline matters. If an investigation reveals inaccuracy in the ODR it may be modified or deleted as appropriate. Administration has 48 hours to make a modification to an ODR. After 48 hours only Student Services may alter or remove an ODR. I send students to the office on an ODR and the student comes back with candy or chips. Should this be happening? Giving a student chips or candy is against the District’s Wellness Policy and should not occur. Candy or chips is not considered an other means of correction. My principal says I can’t write a referral unless I have written four positive referrals on a student first. Is that true? False. This is a misinterpretation of the 4 to 1 interaction ratio every member of the school community should try to maintain. ODRs are written for office managed behavior. Students should be suspended more. What consequences are there for misbehavior anymore? Education Code governs the suspension of students. Schools are required under law to use other means of correction before suspending a student for most behavior. Ignoring misbehavior is inappropriate as well. Students must receive consequences for misbehavior. In
particular, students should be made to repair any harm they have caused to others. This is often more of a punishment for students than a suspension. School teams should regularly review the effectiveness of consequences and refine them as necessary with their administration. I was told I have to write 10 positive referrals a week. Is that true? All staff with access are expected to purposefully record positive referrals. There is no District quota for recording positive referrals. Positive referrals should be entered based on the consensus decision the school PBIS team has reached with staff. If a staff member is not able to record positive referrals in a manner similar to other school staff, then it is expected that administration would dig deeper and provide support to the staff member in identifying opportunities for using positive referrals with students. Shouldn’t children this age already know what is expected of them and how to behave? Not necessarily. The rules at home may be different than the rules at school. Code switching between environments is an important skill that needs to be taught directly to students before we can expect it of them. Isn’t giving a reward like bribing a student to do what you want? Doesn’t giving tangible rewards decrease intrinsic motivation? A bribe attempts to produce behavior that has not happened. A reward reinforces behavior that has occurred. Tangible rewards should always be accompanied by specific positive feedback. Tangible reinforcements should be faded out over time and replaced solely with specific positive feedback. On over reliance on tangible reinforcement is ill advised. Shouldn’t positive referrals be saved for special achievements? I don’t want to enter all these positive referrals. By acknowledging only “big” behaviors, adults send the message that everyday behaviors of cooperation, safety, or respect are not important. Schools should develop a menu of reinforcement that is strategic and reviewed for effectiveness by the PBIS team. The results of our model PBIS implementation, not only have been recognized in our city and county, but have been celebrated statewide in ACSA’s Leadership magazine and the L.A. Times. We have saved over 10,000 days annual of instruction for students previously lost to discipline. The most important impact of PBIS is that teachers and students are building strong relationships, thereby creating more opportunities for students to learn, and more opportunities for teachers to teach. The systems that we are creating ensure a welcoming climate for all both now and in the future. Thank you watching this informational video. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. If you would like a transcript of this video, or to watch this video again, please go to the Instructional Support Services website at BCSD.com.