Bethel PBIS


Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  It was as true in Colonial America as it is in our 21st century classrooms!  Dale Myers, Ph.D., PBIS consultant and president of the NW PBIS Network, emphasized this very idea at the NW PBIS Conference last week.  He reminded us of one of our strongest resources as educators:  positive feedback.   “The best intervention is prevention,” Myers explained.  This concept applies to school-wide efforts as well as those by individual teachers.  He encouraged us to do this by acknowledging positive behaviors often.  “When you see it, acknowledge it,” he suggested.

 PBIS Tip of the Week:  This week, make an effort to follow this advice:  when you see it, acknowledge it!  Focus your energy on acknowledging the expected behaviors of students as often as you can.  You might choose to do this for a specific part of the day.  For example, choose a 30-minute block of time where you’ll focus on positive acknowledgement, say right after lunch or the last part of the day.  Some students may still make choices we’d prefer them not to.  However, by focusing our attention on the positives as much as possible, we are sending kids the message that our classroom is a positive learning environment and inviting our students to join in.
From Danielle Triplett, PBIS Coordiantor – Gresham-Barlow School District

In their examination of 100 fourth-, sixth, and eighth-grade classrooms, Sadker and Sadker (1985) found that teachers used high rates of generalized praise, such as “Okay, yes, uh-huh,” but very low rates of specific informative feedback. Particularly with students with emotional and behavior disorders, it is important that educators provide them with feedback that helps them own their successes and believe that these successes can be replicated. In their work on effective feedback, O’Leary and O’Leary (1977) note that in order to be effective, feedback must consist of three factors:

1. Contingency. Praise must immediately follow desired behavior rather than be applied simply as a general motivator.
2. Specificity. Praise should describe the specific behavior being reinforced.
3. Credibility. Praise should be appropriate for the situation and the individual.

Effective feedback is specific so students know exactly what they have done and might do it again. It also focuses students’ attention on what they did to accomplish the task.

(from Creating Programs for Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders by Vern Jones, Elizabeth Dohrn, and Cory Dunn, 2004)

Tip of the Week: This week, consider making an effort to use effective praise with a few students. Whether it’s a student who often struggles to remain on task in class, or a student who consistently sets a great example for others, it’s likely to encourage more of that behavior in the future. When we notice kids who are doing the right thing and recognize them using specific and effective praise, our classroom environment becomes a positive one. Effective praise can have a ripple effect. Often times, other students who are not making the best choices will hear your praise and be reminded of what they should be doing.

“We can’t ‘make’ students learn or behave. We can create environments to increase the likelihood students learn or behave.” ~Tim Lewis Ph.D.

All teachers have new students coming into our classes mid-year, and we probably have systems in place to help those students catch up to our curriculum and classroom expectations. But after a few weeks out of the building for a break, coming back to school in the new year can feel like starting over–even with students who’ve been with us since the first day of school! What a perfect time to refresh all students about our expectations, and in turn increase the likelihood that they learn and behave.

PBIS Tip of the Week: When our students get back from winter break, they often forget more than just their locker combinations! It’s a great time to reteach the behavior expectations of your school and your classroom. Maybe your PBIS team has developed booster lessons to reteach expectations, or maybe you will be coming up with these lessons on your own. Either way, students of all ages will benefit from friendly reminders about the guidelines in your school and a refresher on what positive behavior looks and sounds like in various settings. (A simple T-chart works great for this!) Before you pack up this week, take a few minutes to put a plan together to remind students about the behavior expectations in your classroom; when you and your students return after break, you’ll be thankful to have it ready. The transition back to school will be that much smoother for everyone with an environment ready to support learning!

Students in K-8 Bethel schools receive a STAR Bus Award for showing positive behavior on the bus. STAR Bus Award slips are given to students by their bus driver for following the bus expectations. The bus expectations include Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible. Current reinforcers for positive behavior include: weekly drawings for prizes, announcing winners over the intercom, pizza coupons to IZZY’s, renting the teacher’s or Prinicipal’s chair for the day, school store items, get to the front of lunch line pass or using your iPod during a class activity. Stay tuned for more news about Bethel’s Transportation PBIS system.

The Bethel PBIS Bus Team met for the  first time yesterday.  The team includes bus drivers and supervisor, transportation trainers, 3 Bethel Administrators and the Bethel PBIS Coordinator.  The bus drivers were eagar to start meeting as a team with Bethel school staff to extend the very successful Positive Behavior and Intervention Support system and practice to the buses.  Bus drivers are the first person students interact with on the way to school and the last as they return home.  Bus drivers are an integral part of our school teams and need to be included in training and provided technical assistance to manage student behavior on the bus.  The team will meet monthly to problem solve any issues that come up around student behavior, plan for training, and work together to create a safe and respectful environment on the bus. 

One helpful tool created last year with input from Bethel Administrators and Transportation staff is the Bethel/First Student K-8 Bus Expectations. This matrix is useful for teachers, drivers and parents to teach and remind students about the behavior expectations on the bus.  Students who follow the bus riding rules are given a STAR Bus Award to be used at school for prize drawings in the classroom and/or whole school prize drawings.  They can also be used at school stores to purchase items.

Driving a 38 foot, full bus of 84 students is a challenging job.  Drivers have their eyes on the road and are also monitoring  the behavior of large numbers of students.  We need to work together as a team to safely transport our students.  This team shows a real commitment to doing just that.

Bethel Districtwide Bus Expectations

At Prairie Mountain School the students and staff have the song R-E-S-P-E-C-T floating around in their heads as they focus this week on key features of being respectful to one another. PM’s PBIS Expectations are We are Safe, We are Respectful and We Do Our Personal Best. In response to the school’s behavior data that showed minor disrespect as the behavior generating the most referrals, the Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) Team started last year to develop ways to help all students to be more respectful to others. What it means to be respecful lessons were written and produced for each teacher to use in the classroom. Lessons were produced for K-5 students and different lessons produced for 6-8 students. Vidoes featuring students demonstrating the correct expectations were also produced. Not only are PM students starring in the videos, they are helping each day with playing the video on Prairie Mountain’s classroom monitors to kick off the classroom instruction.

The four lessons for K-5 included the following areas: Greeting People (smiling, saying hello/good morning, eye contact); Responding to Feedback (when receiving feedback it is respectful to listen and respond appropriately); Introducing Yourself (when you meet someone in a safe place who doesn’t know you introduce yourself); Saying Please and Thank You when asking for something or receiving something. At the middle school level, lesson topics have included accepting responsibility for your mistakes, doing small acts of kindness, showing respect for yourself by the choices you make and the power of your words.

It’s important to teach the behaviors you want to see, not to assume students always know. Prairie Mountain staff are looking carefully for students to be demonstrating respectful behaviors this week and rewarding students with lots of praise and Pride Cards and high fives to be used for bigger rewards, such as, Rent the Principal’s chair for 50 Pride Cards.

Students can rent the Principal's Chair at Prairie Mountain