Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports at Chesapeake Bay Academy
What is PBIS?
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, PBIS, are preventive approaches that focus on positively supporting behaviors. The “interventions” utilize evidence-based strategies to improve behavior. The aim is to be proactive by creating an environment and a culture where negative behavior is prevented rather than punished. Behavioral expectations are positively stated, so they focus on what kids should do rather than what they shouldn’t do. It is not a scolding language that shakes a finger at students saying “don’t do this” or “don’t do that.” Instead, it concentrates on positively stating behaviors we would like students to exhibit.
Usually, PBIS programs have 3-5 positive expectations that are easy for students to remember. But PBIS is more than a catchy slogan about good behavior; it takes the next step by instructing students on how to exhibit desired behaviors – i.e. What does it look like to be respectful? What does it sound like to be respectful? How might being respectful look different in various settings like: lunch, science class, PE or on a field trip? In a PBIS program we explicitly teach students behaviors the same way we explicitly teach students how to solve math equations or how to write an essay. Students are given corrective feedback that helps them replace undesirable behaviors with desirable ones. Again, instead of a “don’t do that,” PBIS offers students strategies that they can do. Instead of just punishing students, it aims to give students constructive feedback and lessons like, here is a better way to respond when you’re frustrated or when you disagree with someone. It acknowledges students’ emotions and triggers and gives them positive coping strategies. By integrating classroom management and preventative discipline procedures, PBIS supports teaching and learning, creating a positive and safe climate which maximizes success for all students.
What positive behavior expectations do you emphasize at CBA?
At CBA we have chosen three Rs: respect, responsibility and resiliency. Students are taught to be respectful to others, the environment and materials, and to themselves. We also focus on responsibility, looking at school as a “job” that comes with responsibilities. We encourage students to be proactive and problem solve when things get in the way of their responsibilities. For example, if technology doesn’t cooperate when they are attempting to complete their responsibility of homework, what can they to work through the issue and still fulfill their responsibility? Finally, resiliency is an important life skill we try to teach our students. We want them to persevere and keep going despite any adversity they may encounter. Inevitably we all stumble from time to time; that’s OK. It’s not about falling but about picking oneself back up and recovering.
How do you reinforce and encourage these positive behavior expectations at CBA?
We have a merit system that is aimed at catching students being good. Students are given merits for behaviors like: advocating for themselves, making positive contributions to our middle school community, problem solving and being proactive, showing good citizenship, demonstrating resiliency, as well as several other behaviors. Merits accumulate in an “account” for the students, and they can “cash” them in to earn various rewards. We collaborated directly with the students when creating a list of rewards, making sure we have many individualized choices to appeal to and to motivate all kids.