In our haste to change a person’s behavior, we often overlook how their behaviors make sense to them.  Try as we might as adults or professionals to guide them, they will not heed our words or advice or intervention until they are confident we understand they are already doing the best that they can with what they have.
Michael Unger

Positive Behavior Supports (PBS), also referred to as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), is a comprehensive approach to implementing positive and consistent student discipline systems in educational settings. Unlike other approaches, PBIS emphasizes a positive school-wide climate  by focusing on systematically teaching behavioral expectations.  So often we assume children know what we want them to do and we punish them when they don’t measure up.  But all too often our expectations are vague and unclear.  PBIS emphasizes clarity of expectations: teaching them and giving “refreshers” when they might be needed.  PBIS schools also focus approaches on populations in the school as needs dictate:

  1. Universal interventions focus on the general school population
  2. Selected interventions focus on students at risk
  3. Intensive interventions focus on students with chronic behavioral and emotional problems

Often we see those approaches to populations illustrated by a pyramid which shows the relative percentage of students who require Universal, Selected and Intensive interventions and the types of interventions which may be utilized in each Tier.

A growing number of schools in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties are implementing PBS/PBIS and others are exploring a variety of school-wide systems for promoting and supporting positive behavior in their students.  To find out if your school is implementing or exploring implementation of PBS/PBIS or to be linked with many excellent PBS resources, talk to your school’s principal or visit: the National Technical Assistance Center @ www.pbis.org.

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