District PBS Coordinator: Laura McGill, (772) 564-5926
What is School-Wide PBS?
School-wide PBS is a systems approach to discipline that emphasizes (a) prevention of problem behaviors through proactive instruction of desired behavior, regular reinforcement of appropriate behavior, and monitoring and correction of problem behavior; (b) on-going collection and use of data for decision-making; and (c) application of more intensive and individualized behavior support for students who do not respond to prevention efforts (Lewis & Sugai, 1999).
History of Positive Behavior Support
Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a general term that refers to the application of positive interventions and system changes to achieve socially important behavior change. Originally, it was created as an alternative to aversive interventions used for students with significant disabilities who engaged in extreme forms of self-injury and aggression. More recently, the technology has been applied successfully with a wide range of students, in a wide range of contexts, and extended from an intervention approach with individual students, to an intervention approach with entire schools. (University of South Florida, Positive Behavior Support Project, 2002) PBS strategies are used to build a positive climate and include all students, not just children who may engage in more serious problem behavior.
What are the Goals of Positive Behavior Support?
Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. The emphasis is on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional (OSEP Technical Assistance Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support).
Why is it Important to Focus on Teaching Positive Social Behaviors?
In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important of a student’s educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of school-wide PBS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm (OSEP Technical Assistance Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support)