Positive Behavior Support

The School and Classroom as a Microcosm of a Model Community


Positive Behavior Support is an evidence-based plan, a school wide response to discipline. It is data driven and is predicated on a foreseeable regimen of  clear expectations, role playing,  modeling, positive reinforcement and a continuum of consequences.

It is team based as well. This means all staff, across all settings. It calls for collaborative efforts of teachers, administrators, nurses, custodians, office personal and bus drivers. The overarching goal for the plan is that every student in the school learns to be safe, respectful and responsible. The focus on performance outcomes and data collection assures that these objectives are both observable and measureable.

In order to realize these trajectories, the school must establish an effective host environment that models what a real living community look, acts and sound like. As such, the program teaches students how to live together and cooperatively solve problems. It is contextually based as well, taking advantage of the local culture, values, and languages of the school and community.

Exactly what does this program look like? The teachers collaborate to establish a universal, short list of values and traits that all students can adapt, i.e., responsibility, respect, cooperation, and relationships, etc. The teachers and students then model and role play in order to get a firm grip on these behavior targets. To supplement these efforts, the children are escorted around the school and asked, for instance, “How would it look and sound like to be safe, respectful and responsible in the cafeteria?”

The teachers and other personal also lend their physical presence in the halls, cafeteria and playground in order to establish a continuity of behavior in all sections of the schools.

Undergirding the program is a positive supportive culture that recognizes good behavior with certificates and other tangible, formalized acknowledgements of success.  However, there is a clear continuum of consequences for rules violations. Quick teacher responses to student behavioral miscues are encouraged. These are to be handled by the instructor in the classroom setting. Importantly, when children do not respond to these ministrations the school has a clear decisive response procedure at the ready. Instead of referring the student, the teacher makes a call via Walkie Talkie to a response team. The support staff arrives quickly and takes the recalcitrant student into the hall. Equipped with a clipboard and cell phone, their task is to define the problem, have the child identify and take responsibility for his/her behavior and then discover the antecedents for the behavior. They then call the parent(s) who, in turn, talks to the child. Finally, they involve the child in problem solving exercises in which the child selects a plan to improve his/her deportment.

Not only is this procedure effective in teaching the child to choose alternative behaviors, but it takes the onus of policeman (woman) off of the teacher. Accordingly, it eliminates the concomitant disruption in the classroom as well. A final aspect of PBS is that it constantly monitors its own performance by collecting new data, and by systematically reflecting on its successes and failures.